Beacon on a tree

Beacon Technology – Bringing Digital into Traditional Retail


By Amit Nayak


Imagine this

It is a lazy Sunday afternoon and you are simply bored fiddling with your iPhone. You know you want to do something today, but you just don’t know what. You decide to take a stroll on the ever crowded Elizabeth Street.

The street is crowded and you can’t see anything around you. As you keep walking aimlessly you sense a beep on your phone. There is a notification. It says “Hi Gina, it’s lunch time. We at Rodger’s are waiting to serve you some awesome Seafood. What’s more? Pair that with a nice wine at 25% less!”

Gina is amazed! Seafood is something she always longed for. Prawn fritters and wine seem just fine. She finishes that last bit and that last sip. But she wants to pamper herself more. She steps out of the restaurant and continues to walk. She knows for sure that she had planned some purchases. But she doesn’t seem to remember what. Her thoughts are broken when her iPhone beeps again. A small notification says “That Lovely red top you have been looking for is available in your size right here. Look to your left for Fanny’s”

It’s a little hot outside. Fanny’s is a nice store to walk around. She enters Fanny’s still holding her phone. “3rd Floor 2nd Isle”, it says. She proceeds and voilà! That lovely red thing is staring back at her straight. She wants to know more about it. But she prefers shopping by herself. She opens a mobile app and places it in front of the red dress.

“Remember “Alice”, you favorite character in “Just Like That” wearing this dress when she goes to meet her boss?” Wow this is interesting. It throws all the information that she want about the dress. She really wants to buy it. But the queue is still long and the afternoon is still lazy. Never mind, her mobile app asks “Buy now?” She clicks “yes” and it is hers. The money gets debited from her e-wallet.

She walks out of that store with a smile. As she leaves, there is a message sent to her “Thanks a ton Gina. We are getting some gorgeous stuff from Italy just from you. We are sure you will love them. Till then Ciao!” Gina has accumulated Fanny’s loyalty points as she steps out. And all of that without any effort!

So what happened? The store knew what Gina wanted. Gina got what she wanted at the store and the two interacted smoothly with each other, without any interference. Her customer profile was created and she was added to their loyalty program just like that – without wasting any time or human effort.

Beacon targeting shoppers on a street
How shopping may look in a few years

How brands can leverage beacon technology

Oh yes! This is the new reality. The key stone piece in this ecosystem is the “Beacon”. Digital Marketing has been used outside of e-commerce to enhance targeting and customization, but it was more or less restricted to digital displays. The Beacon however is set to provide offline business the advantages that online retail enjoyed till now. This piece of technology has pretty much altered the way we look at digital marketing. The marriage between offline and online tactics seems to be one of convenience and efficiency.

So what is “Beacon”? Simply put, it is a low cost, low energy communication device that interacts with your mobile devices, to send you personalized messages. It engages with your mobile devices through an app and looks for information that is most relevant to you by going through the piles of data you leave behind the holy web of internet . It then uses this information to find a match between retailers’ offerings and the wants of the customer. That is just the beginning. The beacon continuously interacts with the customer’s mobile device and helps retailers understand user’s in-store journeys with high detail. It provides data such as the path taken, products picked and tried, amount of time spent on different aisles.

The Beacon looks formidable in the era where Marketing and Science are getting closer to each other. Maybe the store could have further delighted Gina by embedding Augmented Reality on the mobile app to help visualize how the dress would look on her.

The technology is already here. The one who can create the right business intelligence platform and the right content management strategy to make the most of it will succeed eventually!

Disclaimer: All company names, trade names, trademarks, trade dress, designs/logos, copyrights, images, content and products referenced in this blog are the property of their respective owners. No company referenced sponsored this blog or the contents thereof. 

Spread the word!
Find us at -

3 thoughts on “Beacon Technology – Bringing Digital into Traditional Retail

  1. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you become expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *