Beacons are tiny and inexpensive, micro-location-based technology devices that can send radio frequency signals and notify nearby Bluetooth devices of their presence and transmit information. Smart phones or other mobile devices can capture the beacon signals and distance can be estimated by measuring received signal strength (RSSI).The closer the receptive devices the stronger will be the signals. Powered by coin batteries, they have a powerful ARM processor, memory, Bluetooth Smart module, and temperature and motion sensors. Apart from small standalone beacon devices, PCs, mobile phones and tablets with BLE support can all function as beacons, with the ability to both send and receive beacon signals. Various industrial sectors including retail, transit systems, enterprises, educational institutions, event organizing, finance, travel etc. have started leveraging beacons to track and communicate with their potential and existing customers. A beacon fixed on to a shop wall or event location or any public place, can communicate easily with a corresponding smartphone app and figure out where the person is located currently, with great accuracy. The retailers or event organizations can then come up with a much targeted or personalized communication based on the proximity of the customer.
Customer experience has become the key for the success of any industry including retail. Beacons can play a vital role in delivering the appealing customer experience for the retail consumers. These micro computing devices can easily figure out interested customers, loyal customers, potential customers exactly where he / she is, what they are interested in when they enter into store environment. This provides an opportunity for retailers to provide a much engaging Customer experience by sending contextually relevant, hyper-local, significant messages and advertisements on their smartphones. Beacons will act as a bridge between the online and offline shopping by capturing and sending consumer data to retailers and vice versa to create a better shopping experience.
Beacons are poised to redefine the communication of a brand with its consumers. It can make stores smarter. When a consumer with a smart phone enters within the proximity of the beacons fixed in retail stores, it can emit radio signals to locate the consumer and update the information with the associated retailer app. It does not require the tedious pairing and connection. The short messages are much focused, it can be to the area you are standing or in can be to the entire store. Based on the location and movement of the customer inside the store, retailers can send targeted messages like available brands on the customers' choice, offers if any, new arrivals based on his previous purchasing history, using the app. This enables the shopping experience more enjoyable by quicker and easier access to the products they are looking for, or send special offers/ discount messages to loyal customers. Beacons enable retailers to capture invaluable data about their consumer shopping trends, behaviors as well as the activity of their in-store staff. Analyzing the collected data is equally crucial for deriving business insights and intelligence. Beacon analytics or analysis of the data gathered using Beacon Solutions will help retailers in creating better business insights, making improvements to the store layout, maintaining service standards and operations that will benefit both customer and retailer.
The Beacons which are currently available are: