Bluetooth technology is one topic that is enjoying a lot of attention on the web through blogs, social media, infographics, stories, news and latest trend updates. Even though pretty much stable and standardized, bluetooth is one technology that works better with every upgrade and these are not very frequent occurrences. Yes, the emerging and rapidly increasing use cases of beacons have put us in a position of priding ourselves to be the very first Proximity Marketing Platform in India, creating digital marketing opportunities for brick and mortar stores located on high street or inside shopping malls. Knowing that people are thinking of beacons & proximity marketing beyond retail, it is perhaps time to catch up on the basics like the anatomy of a beacon, how does a beacon work and so on.
In this post, we would be highlighting some basic stuff about the humble tiny Bluetooth enabled devices called beacons that are undeniably changing the face of physical retail through proximity marketing. There are tiny microchips embedded inside the beacon devices, that are made externally of silicon or rubber… While there are three kinds of beacons based on their power source, PinCarts will be using battery powered beacons, the other two being electromagnetic waves powered and USB powered beacons.
Beacons and Privacy Concerns
Even though there may be several apprehensions, concerns and confusion surrounding the beacon devices and its functionality, time and again, beacon manufacturers, beacon users and proximity marketing technology experts have claimed otherwise. They have ascertained that beacons are harmless devices, that establish momentary connection and are free of any harmful radiation. Below are reasons why we need not worry about beacons and their privacy or health concerns anymore and interact with them freely.
- Apparently, beacons are an opt-in service, which means, before a beacon can even establish a connection with any nearby device (in this case a smartphone), it will always first “ask”. The next step is to download a beacon powered mobile app, through which beacon will communicate with that smartphone.
- It clearly means that without the opt-in, beacon cannot establish a connection with a nearby smartphone, let alone send push notifications. It is mandatory for beacons and the app to work in sync for user experience.
- Beacons will collect only temporary information about a user’s movements inside a shopping area, their preferences, what they have searched for or shown interest in, and a basic information about their demographics. All of these do not contribute toward confidential information about any shopper, per se.
- The information gathered by Beacons is done so in the passive mode, which means it is not intrusive.
- Users can opt-out from the beacon app and switch off the Bluetooth connection anytime they wish to, which means, there is no chance of stealing confidential information or personal data that could be damaging.
Furthermore, about 8O% of offline shoppers want mobile-optimized product information on their phones while they are shopping – for easy assistance. Providing this information at the right time, through beacons will make a lot of sense than having customers search for some random information on the web, and going through a tiresome process. Beacons shall also show users product specific information only, which means there are better chances of conversion due to high relevance.
This is far better than bothering to use fluctuating network or mobile data and fuss over connectivity issues at a time when one needs it the most. With beacons, there is no such connectivity or privacy issues either.
“Location aware, time sensitive marketing“
Thus, beacons allow retail companies to convert users’ smartphones (that are available nearby) into a virtual personal shopping assistant. Also, beacons make the communication very personalized and specific because it is location and time sensitive. Let’s consider the below statistics:
- Phones influence about 65% of total information sought by shoppers while about 54% shoppers are influenced by personal recommendations.
- About 6% of shoppers feel that any form of such push notifications could possibly be intrusive, but beacons will be able to resolve this because it requires a one-time permission from the user.
In today’s day and age, it is imperative to show consumers what they want to see, sell them what they want to buy and communicate with them at the precise time and location. Time and location sensitive communication is of utmost importance herewith, that is achievable through Beacon technology partners like PinCarts, whose main aim is to leverage beacon technology in tandem with geofencing and an app.
PinCarts is a retail technology expert who can not only provide beacon enabled proximity marketing solutions to retailers and malls but also complete the technology circle through analytics. Beacons are the devices that provide the key input for retail analytics in the form of customer data and touch point information gathered from instore activities. PinCarts will install these devices in the retail stores and enable product discovery, shelf discovery in the form of indoor navigation on their App. Also, beacons will enable us to show store promotions and special offers to customers once they are inside the store.
In the future, we plan to use beacons for a few more use cases other than just shopping, for instance, parking assistance near stores.
#Beacons can be programmed to display detailed product description, with respect to stores and nature of product, when the customer is viewing the product or holding it in their hands or interacting with a mannequin. Personalized offers and deals can also be pushed to such customers who are viewing a product at that point of time. This can be a future use case of beacons that PinCarts envisions.