New technologies for the digital era seem to be never-ending thanks to the ingenuity of IT developers. When these new ideas are brought into the marketplace, they can appear confusing at first; however, their concepts can be relatively straightforward, though the hardware and software engineering will be considerably more challenging at the outset.
Beacon technology is a relatively new addition to the IT lexicon, but it’s becoming a key digital tool particularly for retailers, making it an essential part of how businesses can optimize the experience of shopping for their customers.
Beacon technology explained
A beacon is an inexpensive piece of hardware that’s small enough to be attached to a countertop or a wall. It uses battery-friendly and thus low-energy Bluetooth connections that can transmit prompts or messages directly to a smartphone or tablet.
Thus a beacon can pinpoint the location of smartphones inside, and can then send alerts and data to the apps on those devices. This allows retail businesses, in particular, to provide product information to customers and potential customers, engaging them with special deals or flash sales and enabling them to instantly receive and then, it is hoped, to act on that information.
How easy is the technology to use?
It’s easy to install for retailers and not difficult for consumers to use, though they do have to go through a number of layers of permissions to activate it on their smartphone.
Because beacons require Bluetooth connections, customers have to ensure their Bluetooth is enabled – turned on – and they have to have an app relevant to the retail outlet in which they are shopping. They are required to accept location services on that app, and they have to opt in so that they can receive notifications in the store.
It may seem like a lot of work, but with today’s tech-savvy generations, it’s perfectly easy to get access to this information from the retailer. As a growing market, beacon technology offers that personal touch for consumers, perhaps offering them deals because they are loyal customers or encouraging them towards products that they can instantly get details about.
Many major retailers have found that beacon technology is a new way forward to engage their customers, interest them in items that they are close to in the store, and encourage them to purchase something.
Beacons offer the options to reward customers with special offers or loyalty points, redeemable for goods at another time, or simply giving recipe suggestions or grocery list reminders.
The interactivity between the retailer and the customer is taken to a new level, and a retailer can take advantage of the technology to help drive their business forward.
Moving forward with beacons
Though beacon technology is particularly useful in the retail industry, it has further applications in the home, such as unlocking the front door, or switching on lights and drawing curtains. The tech is there and ready to be used in many different ways.