How Beacon Technology Is Transforming Shopping Mall Experience

Beacons are taking the world of mobile by storm. They are low-powered radio transmitters that can send signals to smartphones that enter their immediate vicinity, via Bluetooth Low Energy technology. In the months and years to come, we’ll see beaconing applied in all kinds of valuable ways. So the big question is – How Beacon Technology Is Transforming Shopping Mall Experience

For marketers in particular, beacons are important because they allow more precise targeting of customers in a locale. A customer approaching a jewelry counter in a department store, for example, can receive a message from a battery-powered beacon installed there, offering information or a promotion that relates specifically to merchandise displayed there. In a different department of the same store, another beacon transmits a different message. Before beacons, marketers could use geofencing technology, so that a message, advertisement, or coupon could be sent to consumers when they were within a certain range of a geofenced area, such as within a one-block radius of a store. However, that technology typically relies on GPS tracking, which only works well outside the store. With beaconing, marketers can lead and direct customers to specific areas and products within a store or mall.

It’s easier and more accessible for consumers than ever before:

  • More people are walking around with location service enabled devices in their pockets than ever before, driven by the global proliferation of smartphones, predicted to hit over 2.5 billion users worldwide in 2019.

  • More people have access to data via their mobile device as global 4G LTE and Wi-Fi coverage increases year-on-year.

  • Location service technology is becoming standard functionality on people’s smartphones. A leading Internet search and technology company has already announced it will allow marketers to send out dynamic offers to consumers based on their location via its native mobile wallet solution, and it is expected that leading smartphone manufacturers will follow suit.

  • Retailers can create contextual awareness of their customer as soon as they step in the store, using Gofindo beacons located inside. The applications installed on the customer’s mobile device will show notifications, and guide them to specific locations.

Consumers are more open to engaging with retailers based on their location

  • As demonstrated by a recent survey on personalization by Accenture, 57 percent of consumers said they would find it cool to be sent promotions, recommendations or reviews for a product they’re browsing in store, and 54 percent would like to receive suggestions of complementary items for a product they’re currently browsing in a store.

  • Marketing campaigns, when inevitably launched by major players in the location service space, such as the leading smartphone manufacturers and social networking sites, will continue to increase consumer perceptions of value, trust and willingness to engage with retailers based on their location.

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Early adopters are paving the way for retailers

  • Early adopters are seeing promising results. Some brands have witnessed up to a 19-fold increase in interactions with advertised products for consumers who receive a location-based notification, versus those who do not.

  • And this is encouraging others to join in. It is estimated that over 50 percent of the top 100 retailers in the United States have, or are trialling, beacons.

  • Consequently, the infrastructure is emerging. It’s predicted there will be 4.5 million active beacons by the end of 2018, with 3.5 million being used by retailers, up from <250,000 in 2014/15.

Leading retail companies are upbeat about beacons

Implementing beaconing is less about installing the actual beacons and much more about rethinking the overall shopping experience they can help shape. Since the best way to imagine the possibilities is through actual, small-scale deployments, this has been how many retailers have spent the past several months, quietly experimenting and learning. Now, many are ready to scale up their initiatives, and beacons are bursting onto the scene in a big way.

Here are some details from a handful of companies – each by the way running on a different beacon platform:

  • Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). The owner of Lord & Taylor, Hudson’s Bay, and Saks recently became the first major retailer to launch a North American beacon deployment, in its U.S. and Canadian stores. A shopper with the SnipSnap coupon app on an iPhone can receive messages and offers from seven separate in-store, beacon-triggered advertising campaigns. Like some others, the retailer is not relying on its own app for the beacon recognition, but rather is using outside, third-party apps that more people are likely to already have on their phones. (This also allows Lord & Taylor to use the beacon program for new customer acquisition.) The Hudson’s Bay beacon program runs on the advertising platform of Boston-based Swirl.

  • Hillshire Brands. In what appears to be the first U.S.-wide beacon deployment by a brand, the maker of Ball Park Franks, Jimmy Dean sausage, Sara Lee, and the Hillshire Farm portfolio of products, beaconed grocery shoppers to launch its new American Craft sausage links in the top 10 markets for grocers nationally. Based on an analysis by Hillshire’s agency BPN (part of the IPG Mediabrands global network), there were 6,000 in-store engagements in the first 48 hours of the two-month trial, and purchase intent increased 20 times. Shoppers needed an app such as Epicurious, Zip List, Key Ring, or CheckPoints; this beacon platform is run by InMarket.

  • Universal Display. This global mannequin company based in London and New York is putting beacons inside mannequins in store windows. Why? To allow passersby to instantly see the details of the outfit the mannequin is wearing – and purchase any of its components right from their phones. The beaconed-mannequins are in the U.K. in the House of Fraser, Hawes & Curtis, Bentalls, and Jaeger, and will soon come to stores in the U.S. Here, the beacon app used is Iconeme, which is also the platform.

  • Simon Malls. The giant of retail real estate is putting location-based technology into more than 200 of its shopping malls, targeting the complexes’ common areas. For beacon recognition, the mall owner is using its own Simon Malls app, which already contains mall information ranging from maps to dining options. That beacon platform is run by Mobiquity.

  • Regent Street. London’s mile-long, high-end shopping street has some 140 store entrances, and now has beacons at the entrances of many of them. The beacon app used is the Regent Street app, slated to be promoted on the sides of double-decker buses that run along Regent Street. The app allows shoppers to pre-select the categories that interest them and the ones that don’t, making the messages they receive more relevant to them. That platform is run by Autograph.

There you have it: How Beacons Are Transforming Shopping Mall Experience. If you want to learn more about cutting-edge mobile engagement solutions, or want to get one for your business, visit our website at

Gofindo mobile engagement platform can help you get all of these mobile marketing benefits and connect with customers on the mobile platform, so don’t hesitate to contact us today if you have any questions.

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