How many times do you drive around and get a notification from your favorite retail store’s app? Smartphone users have been attracting some stalkers on social media and just through the phone itself with notifications and advertisements related to their location. In 2013, Apple came up with a new technology called iBeacon which initiated the trend of Beacon Technology. As digital technology continues to grow rapidly, retailers and businesses are finding new ways to incorporate the popular use of smartphones with their marketing techniques.
Simply put, beacon technology is a small bluetooth wireless device that can be placed anywhere in the store and picks up signals from bluetooth enabled phones to locate if those customers are nearby and also their locations in stores. Very much like a stalker, but also very helpful for the customers and users of these business’ apps. By knowing the location of a customer in the store, the websites and apps are able to send helpful suggestions and product options through this beacon technology and the companies are also able to market themselves more as well. Many companies, such as Walmart, Home Depot, and Walgreens, have been hopping on this trend with at least 75% of U.S. retailers already having integrated this innovation to their marketing tactics.
Facebook launched their own beacon technology called Facebook Beacon, which allows companies to give their customers more information and suggestions about the company whenever customers are within the beacons range of location and they open up Facebook. Some may say it is annoying and intrusive while others find it helpful and useful. The good thing about this technology is that companies respect their customers privacy and give the option to enable or disable this feature on their smartphone settings. With more retailers utilizing beacon technology to increase their sales numbers, the question is how much longer the trend will be of use in the marketing mix before customers grow annoyed and distracted of all the constant notifications.