Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons allow smartphone applications to identify the exact location of a user with sub-meter accuracy. Beacons emit signals which interact with a user’s device to trigger context-aware notifications. Beacons come in a variety of shapes, from thin ID-Tag beacons to rugged boxier varieties. Their versatility makes them ideal for use in retail, hospitality, transportation, healthcare, and security industries.

The signal on a beacon can be adjusted. This is termed the Tx factor. A high Tx factor will broadcast a signal to a larger area while a lower Tx factor will cover a much more exact area. This means that beacons can deliver context-aware information even in the tightest of spaces.

Imagine entering a store which uses beacons to enhance their marketing. A customer may or may not have the store’s application. Eddystone, the google beacon platform, is getting around this issue through their Google Nearby application which allows push-notifications to reach a customer’s device as long as bluetooth is enabled. With the boom of bluetooth electronics, the number of customers who walk into a retail environment with Bluetooth turned on will be increasing exponentially from already majority-numbers.

Back to our imaginary store –

  1. A customer walks into the store and a notification reaches their device welcoming them to the store and reminding them to use their loyalty card at the time of purchase.
  2. A customer then enters an aisle and interacts with an advertisement for a specific aisle, shelf, row, or product. At this time, a coupon may be sent to a customer’s device which will encourage the purchase and effortlessly collect consumer data through registration to redeem the coupon.
  3. A customer then approaches a video display which is triggered by proximity of the customer’s device into delivering a specific advertisement based on the past purchase history and online shopping trends of the customer.
  4. A customer makes a purchase, and is prompted to pay via store’s application for a discount, boosting customer retention and loyalty.
  5. A customer is then thanked for their visit.

Benefits of Bluetooth Beacons:

  • Beacons are easily installed.
  • Beacons are accurate
  • Beacons are inexpensive
  • Beacons run on batteries and can be mounted anywhere.
  • Beacons are small and discreet.
  • Beacons may be equipped with sensors to monitor temperature, light, humidity etc.
  • Beacons provide priceless insights on customer behaviour.
  • Beacons may replace traditional RFID tags on critical assets.
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