This year, beacons will help big retailers collect data, push coupons, and generate billions in in-store sales
Beacons are among the most important new mobile technologies helping real-world merchants win back sales. These low-cost devices communicate with smartphone apps indoors through a Bluetooth signal. Last year saw tons of retailers testing beacons, including Macy's and Target. This year, hundreds of big retail chains are turning those devices on and using them to communicate with mainstream consumers in store.In an all-new report, BI Intelligence takes an in-depth look at beacons in large retail settings, discussing sales influence, addressable market, and examining the top applications, including offers, coupons, data-collection, as well as loyalty, payments, and digital-marketing programs. We also look ahead to future beacon-powered retail strategies. This is a follow-on to our past, popular research on beacons and retail.
Here are a few of the primary drivers that we expect to spur beacon adoption in 2015:
- We expect beacons to directly influence over $4 billion worth of US retail sales this year at top retailers (.1% of the total), and that number will climb tenfold in 2016.
- Many early adopters who opt in to receive beacon-triggered messages will likely be coupon clippers. Half of beacon-triggered messages sent currently are some form of coupon, according to Shopkick. Mobile coupons are a significant part of this market. Mobile couponing app company RetailMeNot claims that its offers alone influenced $3.5 billion in retail sales in 2013.
- Loyalty programs will also be important drivers. Beacons and loyalty apps could be used together to reward customers for all sorts of location-based actions, even just walking into a store. Brick-and-mortar stores will use mobile payment apps and in-store technology to establish integrated online and offline loyalty programs among their own customers.
- Since beacon-powered apps will collect valuable data on consumers' in-store activity, they could result in highly personalized and targeted offers, which will reinforce the above programs. Once a consumer opens an app in-store, the data on their clicks and location can help retailers target them with offers customized to their location in a store, or based on past in-store shopping behavior.
- Some retailers are explicitly using in-store signs and promotions to encourage shoppers to download apps and opt in to beacon campaigns. GameStop is experimenting with prominently displaying beacons in stores, so that shoppers can voluntarily wave their smartphone in front of them to receive some type of offer or information.
In full, the report:
- Provides an explainer of how beacons work, as well as access to a supplementary FAQ
- Shows a complete list of what factors are driving beacon adoption among retailers and shoppers
- Includes a dollar-figure market forecast of how many sales will be influenced by beacon-triggered messages this year and in 2016
- Looks at how much bigger sales influenced by beacons messages could be if retailers effectively harness the technology and convince consumers to opt-in to app-based beacon programs
- Gives detailed examples of how retailers are using beacons today, and how they might be used in the future, based on our conversations with beacon vendors
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