If you have received Google beacon as a part of the internet giant’s Project Beacon, you’d have basic idea of what this technology is all about. Since 2013 this technology when it was introduced by Apple an iBeacon has been making news and often seen as the next big thing in proximity marketing and retail. But the adoption of this technology hasn’t quite been in expected lines around the globe. But with Google having entered the race this technology is all set for an explosion and market watchers believe it would be a $25 billion market by 2024. 

What Are Beacon Devices and what is Beacon Technology?

There are small wireless transmitters that send signals to nearby devices. In most cases these beacons use low energy Bluetooth technology but some beacons are being experimented with Wi-Fi radio signals as well. These are extremely low cost hardware transmitters allowing smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices to receive information when they are in close proximity to beacon and perform intended actions. Mobile devices compatible Bluetooth and Wi-Fi listen to signals that are broadcast from nearby beacons which are often used to serve push notifications, messages and other forms of communication to the recipient. From coupon codes to promotional videos and URLs to forms almost anything can be marketed using this technology. 

Google Beacon
What has added thrust to the beacon technology is the active participation of Google. With nearly every three out of four mobile devices running on Google’s Android platform it has rejuvenated the entire project. From writing reviews on the Google Business Page to posting real-time images the possibilities with this new technology is immense. With a wide array of codes, APIs and tools being made available to the developers under this project business can streamline the use of this technology to gain customers and increase their sales in a highly completive market. 

What Are the Benefits of Beacon Technology?

Beacon technology can be used in multiple ways and here we shall look at some of the basic uses of beacon technology and how they can benefit businesses – 

Proximity Marketing
Brick and mortar stores see proximity marketing as the best way arrest the flow of their customers to online retail. By installing beacons retailers are able to attract customers in close proximity to their stores and increase sales. These beacons funnel new customers to stores by increasing the footfall. What makes this technology so powerful is the fact that good offers and deals can be marketed to potential customers when they are close to the store. This increases the odds of sale as compared to posting online ads or using social media to promote your business. 

Better Attribution with Online Ads
The signals of beacon can be easily connected to the online ad account such as Google Ads and this provides businesses better insights into the needs of their customers. This allows retailers to integrate online activity with offline shopping experience. From tracking store visits to tracking search history of the customers this technology can be tracked with this technology. With businesses spending thousands of dollars on their ad campaigns this low cost technology would streamline marketing in the future. 

Data Gathering & Lead Generation
Lead generation is without doubt one of the most important activities for any business. All businesses would agree that it is the quality of the leads that matters the most to them and not the volume. With beacons offering positional accuracy businesses are able to take their lead generation campaign to the next level. Once the customer is within a store a business would be able track where they are moving around and what kind of products they are interested in. This improves the success of the overall marketing strategy that is used by businesses. 

The Future of Beacons in Marketing
Marketers term it as the ‘unstoppable’ marketing tool and quite rightly so. If digital marketing and social media marketing has dominated discourse in this decade, beacon marketing has the potential and is in the right path to be ‘The Technology’ for the next decade. With the lines of Amazon Go, Starbucks and Pepsi Co jumping into the adoption of this new technology what we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg. The obvious question to strike your mind is – how would beacons be used for marketing in the future? Let’s try and unravel this – 

Online To Store Experience
While online shopping has truly revolutionized shopping experience it hasn’t quite been able to replicate the experience of shopping from brick and mortar stores. This is the reason offline retail business is still going strong. With beacons businesses would be able to offer the best of online and offline shopping experience to the user. For example a shopper may search and find about a product available at your store and come to try it out. As soon as the shopper steps in the beacon identifies the user and your salesperson can immediately show the searched product and ones similar to that improving experience for the shopper. 

Two Front Puzzle
Beacons would solve the two-front puzzle in business. It would help businesses target their customers actively. While social media and digital marketing have been able to target customers in a personalized way beacons would add a new component to this – location marketing. For instance a customer who is physically present in a mall is more likely to buy a product being sold in one of the stores when the right discounts and deals are being offered when compared to sending notifications when they are at their homes or offices. From the customers’ perspective they are likely to find great deals when they are actually out for shopping.  

Where Beacons Would Be Adopted in Future? 

  • Retail Business – Retail businesses would be the biggest adopter of this technology and the reasons for this are obvious. It helps them know when the customers are around and what they are looking for and offer them personalized experience at the store. They would also benefit from this technology in terms of being able to the attrition of customers from offline to online ecosystem. Beacons would help retailers know customer aspirations and serve them. 
  • Logistics Business – The logistics and transportation industry business have been one of the early adopters for this technology. While GPS has so far helped them track their vehicles on the roads it is Beacon Technology that is helping them track the accurate position of the vehicles within their own facility. 
  • Healthcare – Healthcare is one of those sectors that has immensely benefitted from technologies that were developed for pure commercial benefits. Think of ecommerce and how you can book an appointment with your doctor, think of mobile apps and how they can record and report everything from your heartbeat to blood pressure. Similarly beacons are being adopted in hospitals to track doctors, patients and nursing staff. 

To conclude beacon technology is here to stay. While all the hype and fanfare hasn’t made it the go-to technology so far with Google’s patronage it is likely to take off from the ground and reach greater heights. What adds to the potential of this technology is the fact that it is extremely low cost and shall solve some of the big challenges that businesses face in a tech driven world that is constantly undergoing change. 

Summary – In this write-up we take a look at the beacon technology and how it can be used for proximity marketing and other use in the future.    

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