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Beacons: What Consumers Want You to Know

By Maura Mitchell

Marketers love the idea of beacons: technology that lets them track shoppers in-store and send location-specific marketing messages to their smartphones. In fact, over half of the top 100 US retailers are testing beacons this year, and many plan to roll them out in 2015.

Consumers are not half as excited about beacons. 50% definitely do not want to be tracked in-store, and an additional 24% want to know more before consenting. Only 27% say they do not mind having their movements monitored. Men are slightly more open to tracking than women, but not by much.

Americans have a number of concerns about location tracking. Security and privacy top the list. Smartphone owners over 30 years old are more worried than those in their 20s.

When asked what incentive would induce them to share their location with companies, exclusive discounts is the most frequent answer. Surprisingly, shorter checkout lines comes in second.

In order for marketers to leverage beacons, smartphone owners must leave both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled when they enter a store. Plus, they must have downloaded an app with location-based services. That means if shoppers do not want to receive beacon-enabled marketing messages, they can thwart them.

What are the implications for your business?
  • Are you experimenting with beacons so that you are ready when the technology rolls out across retail?
  • What can you offer that will make your customers willing to receive beacon-based messages from you?
For help developing powerful digital strategies that work, compelling marketing strategies that drive results, strategic plans that deliver growth, or new products that consumers love, contact Brandology at 925-417-2253 or
Sources: Adweek 2014, eMarketer 2014, Punchtab 2014    

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