Beacons have been around for a couple of years now so that many of those using them are starting to see what works and what doesn’t.
While many of the little radio transmitting devices have been placed in stadiums, convention centers and other large buildings, retail has been where the real action has been occurring.
Retailers like Macy’s and Lord & Taylor have announced chain-wide beacon rollouts and research suggests that more than a third of retailers are testing the technology, based on a new report from the Mobile Marketing Association.
After having been somewhat burned by QR codes, for various reasons, some retailers are a bit hesitant to jump in to beaconing with both feet.
However, the advantage of beacons is that no consumer activity in a store has to change as beacon-triggered messaging enhance what shoppers do, according to the MMA report Understanding the Proximity Landscape.
Of course, most shoppers don’t use a retailer’s app, so it’s often a third-party relationship that has to be forged so that apps that consumers already use are beacon enabled.
For example, apps of the top 10 retailers collectively reach about 5 million monthly active users, just a fraction of people who visit the stores, according to the MMA study.
Many in the industry are finally coming around to the idea that beaconing is not about continually blasting coupons to mobile shoppers.
For example, Hidden Valley Ranch and Soy Vay are using the technology to deliver helpful content, such as easy dinner ideas, says the MMA report.
And content providers, such as Elle, are getting into the act by having editors at the magazine provide reader-relevant content based on location triggered by beacons.
Deals still have a place in the world of beacons, since real-time, personalized discount offers and promotions tied to shopping history or location can save money for a shopper along with increasing convenience, notes the MMA study.
Consumers may not see or even be aware of beacons, but their effect on shopping behavior can be profound, especially after including the passive tracking of location information from beaconed smartphones.
Simply sending ads to all enabled phones near a particular beacon is so last year.