Should you and your customer be afraid of beacons? 6 questions to dispel your doubts.

Recently, beacons are a subject that is on top of discussions concerning new technologies. We hear a lot about these little transmitters applications in various industries. They help to sell, they navigate where GPS loses its capabilities, they promote the tourism industry, hotel industry and others. Because they sent a signal to a Bluetooth mobile devices each of us has, can be some kind of a trigger – the trigger that sent a message that we want our clients to get at a certain time.


Beacon is not a complicated device. Can send only a few parameters such as the user ID and the distance from your mobile device. The added value is that, thanks to the several parameters, we can determine the exact time and location of a client (much more accurate than it is in the case of GPS) and thus send him a dedicated message in a real-time.

Common concerns

Beacons are a novelty. Everything new causes a fear for it. The technology they are based on too. In their case, doubts that arise as the first, are issues related to the safety of our data, surveillance of each movement. That is a typical fear of a normal man in the street, phone user, the client.

Entrepreneurs or investors can also reflect on the issue of data collection and its storage. Is it worth to invest in a new, untested solutions? Are potential clients sufficiently educated to use this kind of technology and it will become something natural for them?

Is it really nothing to be worry about? What kind of questions comes?

1. Are beacons threaten to the security of the data?

Firstly, we should know how they collect our data and whether they actually do it? Well, practically no. As I mentioned above, the beacon itself is not an “intelligent” machine, so can neither store nor send our data. At a time when we will turn within its reach, and we have installed the application on our phone that is compatible with it and enabled Bluetooth transmitter, beacon is tracking your device.

Then it sends to the management system of advertising campaigns signal: “user ID number entered into the shop X”. Nothing more. Communication beacon – the system, is based on sending encrypted ID numbers, our data do not “fly in the air”. The system uses the relevant databases, decodes the information sent by the beacon, later identifies the specific client and adapts to their profile message, for example: “Good morning, Ann, use today’s 20% discount on the pumps”.

– We must remember that in order to receive such information, while installing the application, we need to agree to send advertising messages to us. Thus, we have made information about us available. We should be aware that talking about the use of data for marketing purposes or the company uses beacon, or just use the traditional mailing campaign – there is no difference.

2. Will the implementation of technology based on beacons results in the fear of “permanent surveillance” by our clients?

– Information about your clients buying behavior will be able to process only by the owner of the brand, the company, which their client made the data available. We should be aware that at a time when almost everyone has a smartphone, to track the point where we currently are, is not a problem. Much more threatening to our privacy is even a video surveillance system that works in commercial buildings or settlements.

3. Are entrepreneurs and clients should be afraid that beacons will spam they?

– No. We have already explained that a message from a company or institutions can reach a client only if he has installed on its smartphone appropriate application (thereby agree to receive marketing messages) and turn the Bluetooth on. Which means that he consciously allows the brand to communicate with him in this way. There is no need to be afraid that by going to the same store several times in one day, we will be flooded by the same messages. None of the entrepreneurs will allow to discourage its clients to too much intrusive messages.

4. Does society is already so aware, and the technology is so well-functioning, that solutions based on beacons can bring measurable effects for the company?

– For some time the customer is a prosumer – that is a professional consumer who buys in a conscious way, looking for profitable shopping and knows how to use the variety of sources of information about products. We can be therefore sure that the solution that cause shopping more convenient will adopt in society. Of course education from businesses, institutions, innovative companies is essential. A good accept of beacons is also supported by the development of technology. Soon BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) will be enabled by default in new smartphones due to the low energy consumption. The number of devices with systems that support BLE will also increase. The point is to carry on a relation with the client so attractive that the application would be regularly use, which is not a marginal issue.

5. Is it not too early to think about the implementation of beacons in your company?

– Marketing based on beacons to many entrepreneurs seems to be distant and uncertain yet. But rather than fear of the new, you should look on the other side. If we start now, we can count on the so-called early adopters – people who are interested in technology at the very beginning, when it appeared on the market. In addition, the number of messages send through beacons (push messages) are still relatively small and so far not had time to get bored.
It remains to well-consider and maintain a relation with clients including this technology. It is widely known that acquiring a new clients is up to 7 times more expensive than maintaining the current. For entrepreneurs who believe that client service is the new marketing, beacons are the ideal solution.

6. What is the chance that I encourage my existing and new clients to install the application?

– Here is the best to support with concrete data. According to research by Sarah Johnson (Credit Donkey) in March 2015: 52% of Americans have confirmed that for a voucher of $ 1 they are willing to give you their email address, 26% could give address, 54% – date of birth, 71% – postal code. So you do not need much to encourage clients to download the application and persuade to beacons. A completely different matter is to make them use this application as long as possible. This depends on the attractiveness of communications and creative marketing teams.

To sum up, the use of beacons augurs very well future. Deloitte Research shows that by the end of 2015 ⅓ stores in the US and about 20% in the UK will implement solutions that will use them. In the end, a similar trend will occur in Poland. It is worth to be interested in this issue, while the market is still new, to later be able to benefit from the already gained experience in running such projects.