In-store mobile messaging can be viewed as a service or as an annoyance.
And adding beacons into the mix can translate this into great service or mega annoyance.
Various studies have shown that a large number of consumers are open to and even want targeted messaging based on where they are. Of course, targeting in this case means messages that are relevant and useful to the shopper.
And there’s the catch. A message perceived as useful to one shopper may be seen as useless and even intrusive to another.
In-store beacons provide a much better chance of triggering location-based messages or ads that have more relevance, since they can be located in specific departments or near certain products.
And plenty of beacons will be in stores as time goes by, with more than a million shipped last year with projections of 400 million shipping within five years, as I wrote about here a while back (400+ Million Beacons Projected to be Shipped).
Beacons can trigger smartphone messages and many shoppers are very OK with that.
The majority (57%) of smartphone owners said they would likely shop at a store if they received messages or push notifications about relevant deals and coupons while shopping at that store (In Store Mobile Shopping: 57% Want a Location-Targeted Deal).
And then there are those who want no part of any of this.
Almost a third (30%) of 1,000 consumers surveyed found in-store smartphone notifications like those from beacons to be very annoying. The survey by Genesys also found that more of those younger than 45 years old found messaging to be helpful while the majority of those older found messaging to be very annoying.
Unstated in most surveys is the issue of opting in.
The reality of beacon-triggered messaging is that shoppers are asked at least once if they want to receive location-based messaging and they can just as easily decline as accept.
But the underlying issue is capability vs. acceptance. There’s what retailers can increasingly accomplish with location technologies such as beacons and what shoppers will be open to accepting.
The longer retailers use beacons the more they learn what does and doesn’t work, since beacons can be used to gather information as well as trigger messages.
A large number (71%) of retailers using beacons see as one of the main benefits the ability to track and understand browsing and buying patterns of their shoppers.
The majority (65%) also see the value in being able to target customers down to the aisle level, as I wrote about here recently (46% of Retailers Move to Beacons; 71% Learning Buying Patterns).
It’s likely that a number of consumers will never come around to liking the idea of receiving smartphone messages as they shop.
The others will get the deals.