MarTech Landscape: What is a beacon?
The location-based devices have made a beachfront in physical stores, but the pending question is whether consumers are ready for them.
Consumers’ smartphones can be tracked by GPS coordinates and other techniques, but those are largely broad-brush. Beacons are devices that are designed to support very granular targeting, such as sending a coupon for red sneakers while you’re standing in front of the rack with red sneakers.
In this installment of MarTech Today’s MarTech Landscape Series, we explain what beacons are and how marketers can use them.
A standard beacon, as its name suggests, is essentially a lighthouse.
But, instead of a beam of light showing ships where the shoreline is, the small device — mounted on a retailer’s ceiling, wall or counter — broadcasts its location ID again and again to a supported app in nearby consumers’ phones. Standard beacons usually conform to Apple’s iBeacon specs, introduced in the summer of 2013 as the company’s implementation of the Bluetooth Low Energy standard.