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Beacon Marketing: Bringing Personalized Marketing To Retail Outlets

One of your customers is browsing your store and gets an alert on her phone. She glances at the screen and her face lights up. She looks up at the nearest employee with a huge smile on her face. The customer just received a customized alert on her phone offering a 20% discount, if she makes a purchase in your store today.

Was that a big coincidence? Nope. It was beacon marketing.

What is Beacon Marketing?

More and more consumers rely on their mobile devices to search for products and to do price comparisons. They often download their favorite brands’ apps to get special offers and other incentives. This kind of marketing takes personalized marketing to another level.

The beacons are small, battery-powered devices, that can be installed throughout any physical location. The beacons emit a special Bluetooth signal known as a BLE. Within a certain range, mobile devices can pick up the BLE signal and receive push notifications. Those notifications allow you to interact with your customers in new and different ways.

Some beacon setups currently require consumers to have the brand/store app installed to receive these notifications. However, Twitter has paired with beacon start-up, Swirl. They are developing ways of bypassing the app requirement and using Twitter instead. Instead of requiring a consumer to install an app, all that person needs to do is follow the brand on Twitter.

Does It Really Work?


More than 50% of the top 100 brands already use beacons within their physical stores, with great success. Macy’s implemented these signaling devices throughout their chain after conducting a hugely successful trial run over a Christmas season.

The beauty of these devices is that they can be used in businesses of various sizes and in different industries. For example, casinos can engage their guests from the moment they walk through the door. If a VIP walks through the door, the casino can send a welcome and have a staff member waiting in the VIP room with the customer’s favorite drink in hand. Someone in the slots area can receive a special offer to come visit the roulette tables. Other guests can receive discount offers for dining and entertainment.

Now, the success a business has with beacon marketing depends on what value you offer to the customer. This form of marketing enhances the way your business can interact and engage with your customers. Offering tips, perks, and discounts are all effective ways to provide value to consumers.

What Does This Mean for Your Business?

Brick-and-mortar stores continue to fight the pressure of online competitors. Competing on price is difficult with the overhead costs of running a physical location. To remain competitive, stores have to find new ways to differentiate themselves from the online competition.

Using beacons to interact with customers opens up new opportunities to engage consumers and entice them to make in-store purchases. That makes beacon marketing a promising channel for the long-term success of brick-and-mortar stores.

Debbie Szwast
With 20 years of advertising and PR experience, Debbie Szwast understands the multifaceted nature of marketing. A true believer in the art of communication, she acquired an MBA in marketing and a Master’s degree in writing. Today, she calls on the knowledge she has gained over the past two decades to formulate big-picture strategies and execute comprehensive marketing plans for clients across the country.