September 22, 2016

New Magic. Beaconing Technology and the Sleight of Hand

No this is not misdirection. I am not going to saw you in half. I have nothing up my sleeve.  Ok, so what’s the gimmick? Beacons.

In a study conducted in 2015, business intelligence company ABI Research asserted that “BLE beacons and proximity-based features will become an integral part of a number of new technology movements,” with more than 400 million units expected to be shipped by 2020. Companies who start using beacon technology now will be set up to impress customers with their innovation and gather data that will help perfect your own business strategies before competitor adoption.


Beacons are a type of hardware that use Bluetooth connections to search for and transmit messages or prompts directly to a person’s mobile device based on their surroundings in the physical world. This type of geo-sensitive technology enables mobile apps to have more awareness of their micro-local positioning in order to provide more intuitive and hyper-contextual content, notifications, and offerings to users based on their location.


While the idea of beaconing is not new, it is nouveau in theory of how it will amplify business and customer attention/retention in an always-on world. We’re seeing beaconing trickle into different industries where it makes sense to provide consumers contextually relevant offers and promos like retail.


But abracadabra… beacons in the corporate world. By placing beacon hardware in strategic locations around a venue, visitors are encouraged to gather in important areas and interact with digital signage. For more modern businesses leveraging a mobile-first approach to their customer relationship experiences will truly be able to incorporate beaconing technology to drive excitement, engagement, and interaction. Abracadabra.



Pulling a Rabbit Out of Your Hat

Let’s examine a successful implementation of beaconing technology in the retail space. Shopkick, a shopping app, uses beacon technology to drive sales and engagement for a number major retailers, including Macy’s, Best Buy, and Target. Leveraging this technology, the app personalizes the in-store shopping experience by  greeting shoppers by first name upon arrival, making product recommendations, and promoting sales and discounts.


According to Nielsen research, the app gets more sessions per person than any other mobile shopping app, beating out both Amazon and Starbucks.

The company also boasts 26% increased sales among shoppers who use the app in-store, less cost per engagement than more traditional digital marketing efforts, and increased loyalty among shoppers.

Shopkick’s success shows that retail customers enjoy the personalized user experience beacon technologies provide. Ok great… this works for retail. That makes sense. But how does this translate to the corporate world, events, and briefings? With a little bit of magic dust.


Audience Participation

Beacons can be strategically placed in venue booths, auditoriums, and lounges in order to drive interest in that location. Want to make sure someone stops by your booth at an event? Install a beacon and send them an enticing push notification. Want to keep customers engaged and occupied during down time at a briefing? Send them on a scavenger hunt with beacons that provide company information and promote excitement.

The Metrics Affect

Get better tracking. Want to know what visitors at your event or briefing are most interested in? Beacons can tell you. In addition to providing notifications to visitors, beacons provide you with analytics: what areas your customer visited, what areas he/she avoided, and where he/she spent the most time. This data can be transformed into valuable insights about how to engage with customers after the event is over. Better tracking helps identify visitor engagement patterns, and send push notifications recommending additional locations of interest.

Personal Matters

Providing a personal attendant for each visitor at an event or briefing might have been impractical in the past, but it’s possible with beacons. Greet visitors by name when they arrive, and use phone navigation capabilities to direct them to their check-in location. The use of beacon technology can provide a personal, concierge-level of service for each visitor to your location.


What it all comes down to is integrating existing and new technologies into your interpersonal business development plan in order to stay current, stay relevant, and stay noticed. It’s that extra little something. Beaconing is going to be a pivotal launchpad for smart business of the future. Don’t become the disappearing act...