Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Imagine walking by a store in your local mall and getting an alert on your phone offering you an exclusive coupon or free gift for that very store. Imagine entering that store and having your phone remind you of which items might be in your online shopping cart, or inform you of how many more points you need to reach your next reward. What about a technology that allows you to view custom videos, just by hovering your phone over certain points in the store?

Beacon technology has been lauded as the way of the future for the past few years. But the future is now. Beacons use Bluetooth low energy to seek out specific, integrated apps and send relevant messages to shoppers’ smartphones as they pass by, all with the goal of driving traffic and sales.

Big beauty retailer Sephora will have the beacon technology in all its stores by fall. The company has been diligently working away at these high tech marketing ideas in its Innovation Lab in San Francisco. This facility tapped the collective creativity of our 14,000 employees nationwide to grow the next generation of leaders and elevate Sephora’s digital future.

American Airlines ran a test of the beacon technology at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport last year. Those with the app received notifications on waiting times at security gates, boarding times, food and beverage locations closest to the consumer, etc.

American Eagle uses its beacons to offer rewards points and coupons to anyone who takes an item of clothing into the dressing room to try on. Granted, this is a bit invasive, but who can refuse a free coupon at the point of sale?

Perhaps the best use of beacons though is at museums. Those who have integrated the technology, like the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D. C. allows users to receive self-guided tours right on their smart phones, while the museum receives information on how long visitors spent in certain areas of the museum.

The future seems to be upon us and beacons and other mobile technology only looks to grow. What other mobile-based technologies could retailers use to enhance the shopping experience?

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