Beacons — What Are They and How Can They Help My Business?

Amongst the surge of new technologies that has been introduced to help businesses in the past decade, beacons are leading the charge in revolutionizing the retail customer experience. For those unfamiliar, understanding their impact starts with the obvious question…

What Is a Beacon?

As it relates to retail stores, beacons are small sensors that are mounted throughout stores in strategic areas called digital touch points. These small pieces of hardware communicate with shoppers’ smartphones through a power-saving Bluetooth setting called Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE. Beacons have ushered in an entirely new way for businesses to connect with customers. They are also opening the door for a much more sophisticated data collection of customers, including their contact information, buying history and preferences, and even when they like to shop.

The possibilities are seemingly endless with beacons, but with this overload of technology, the next question you might be asking is…

How Can Beacons Help My Business?

The truth is, it depends on what you where you need help. Beacons are very versatile; there is no shortage of ways that beacons can potentially help your business. They can start by attracting people into your story through proximity. By placing beacons outside the entrance to your store, customers passing by can receive alerts about deals and sales happening in your store that day to bring them in. Once they are in the store, you can send them welcome messages that highlight what is happening in the store that day, additional deals as they walk around certain areas, or ask them to join email lists for more deals. This is where you can use your imagination and find exciting ways to connect with customers. 

When used alongside a retailer’s app, you can have customers create profiles with names, email addresses, and phone numbers. They can also register credit cards or other methods of purchasing that can practically eliminate a checkout line.

All this sounds great, but right about now you might be growing skeptical, causing you to ask…

What Are the Drawbacks of Beacons?

As with any new technology, there are always kinks that need be to be worked out. The first problem store owners might run into will be the app situation. It’s not very cut-and-dry as to which app will be used, or how many for that matter. Requiring each store to have their own app for interacting with beacons could turn customers away from looking into the technology. One all-encompassing app for every store would be much more convenient, but would be a much larger undertaking. The other main drawback is pretty simple: people just might not trust the technology. In this day and age of computer hacks and email leaks, some people might be slow to hand over any personal data, especially credit card information, to a large retailer.

While beacons are highly innovative, it is still a young technology that needs time to come into its own. In the meantime, you can instantly upgrade your retail store with new shopping carts and baskets, and we at Good L. Corporation would be happy to hear from you today!