How to buy beacons (better AND more efficient!)?
By now, you know all about what a beacon is and what it does. Now, it’s time to buy beacons.
Just to recap, what is a beacon?
A beacon is a small Bluetooth radio transmitter that can send messages to nearby devices.
This guide is intended to help you as a marketer or business owner invest in the best beacon for your needs.
Here are the core factors to consider before you buy beacons, based on our learnings over the years
This is possibly the most important point when it comes to buying beacons. How far does your beacon transmit or rather how far do you need a beacon to transmit? For example, a product launch within a store does not need a transmission range of more than 30 metres whereas if a real estate agent wants to drive new customers to an open house 300 metres is ideal. Beacons that have a long range up to 300 metres are the most popular and versatile beacons in the market.
Another crucial factor is the battery life of the beacons. You do not want to be in the middle of a campaign and find out that your beacons have run out of charge. Now you can purchase USB beacons from Beaconstac and never have to worry about changing batteries. This plug-and-play beacon can be plugged into a USB port to start broadcasting proximity marketing campaigns.
Explore the use cases of USB beacons
Indoor vs Outdoor:
There are different beacons suited for different locations. The most basic feature to note is if you want to deploy beacons outside, you should make sure your beacons are weatherproof.
Protocols supported (Eddystone/iBeacon):
Does your beacon support only iBeacon? Do you need Eddystone support?. Buy beacons that support both to give you the maximum flexibility for deployment. For e.g. Beaconstac beacons can transmit both iBeacon and Eddystone protocols in an interleaved mode to give flexibility for deployment
When you buy beacons, you may get a platform that will only help you configure your beacons. However, if you are looking to run an effective proximity marketing campaign, you will need more than just a basic platform. Choose an end-to-end solution that offers you a comprehensive platform. Solutions like Beaconstac allow you to manage your campaign through customizable content management system, gather digital analytics and organize related beacons simultaneously.
Buying beacons off an e-commerce site vs using a wholesome proximity marketing solution
Beacons have been popular specially since they are not heavy on the wallet. Having said that it’s important not to invest in the cheapest one available on the market. Few factors that influence the cost of the beacon include volume of beacons being purchased, whether the beacons come configured, warranty on the beacons, whether they are white-labeled or not, time taken for fulfilment among others.
Beacons do not always have to be stationary. Smaller beacons that fit in the palm of your hand are perfect if you want to transmit on the go.
If it’s your first time buying beacons, then here are a few additional terms that you will encounter during your purchase decision that will influence what kind of beacons you should buy.
Additional factors to consider while buying Bluetooth beacons
It is merely the level up to which a BLE beacon transmits signals. This can be anywhere between -30dBm to +4dBm. The Tx Power affects the range of the signal. More your Tx power, further your range. However, increasing the Tx power is going to have an impact on the battery life as well. More the Tx power, more the drain on your battery.
This is the interval that you can set for devices to receive your signals. So if you set it for 100 ms, every 100 ms all nearby devices will receive a notification. Shorter the advertising interval, greater the battery drain.
A protocol developed by Apple which requires a relevant app to be installed on the phone or other device.
An open protocol developed by Google which allows Android devices to receive beacon notifications without an app through Nearby.
UPDATE: Nearby Notifications will no longer be supported on Android smartphones after December 6 2018. Please read this blog post to understand how you can continue running proximity marketing campaigns through beacons.
What is the difference between Eddystone and iBeacon?
A beacon-compatible or a beacon-aware app is one that needs to be downloaded on the end user’s smartphone for them to receive notifications when they come into the range of a beacon. This could be a hardware agnostic app like NearBee or your own brand app with SDK integrated in it.
You can also choose to build your own app without any coding involved with Shoutem, a DIY app builder platform. Or, use Kumulos to build your beacon app and add geofencing and beacon notifications.
Now that you have an idea of what to look for when buying beacons, consider Beaconstac, an end-to-end solution that allows you to buy beacons as well the platform. Beaconstac beacons are built keeping in mind your diverse needs. To make this simple, we’ve divided beacons based on several different factors. Just click on the different factors to know which is the right beacon for you. Or, take this free assessment.
[Assessment link – https://eddypro.typeform.com/to/Yh0qDi]
So, which Beaconstac beacon is right for you?
Based on Transmission Range:
|Up to 25 m or 82 ft
|Up to 50 m or 164 ft
|Up to 80 m or 262 ft
Indoor Beacons/Outdoor Beacons/USB Beacons
|Up to 300 m or 984 ft
Long Range Outdoor Beacons
Based on Battery Life*:
| 4-5 months
| 1 year
| 2 years
Long Range Outdoor Beacons, Indoor and Outdoor Beacons
*When set to default configuration. Battery life also depends on Tx power. These batteries can be replaced easily and you can monitor how much battery is left on the Beaconstac app.
USB beacon doesn’t use batteries so you don’t have to worry about the battery running out ever.
Based on the Use Case:
- Sending information about a product inside a store
- Helping guests check in at the hotel
- Offering free Wi-Fi at railway stations
- Navigation inside small stores
- Checking availability of a product
- Offering interesting details about an installation at Museums
- Outside stores to draw in shoppers
- At bus stops to notify travellers of bus timings
- At billboards to attract new customers
- Hotel grounds to notify guests of outdoor features
- Sports venues to notify people of a shorter line at the concession stand
[Extensive proximity broadcasting]
Long Range Outdoor Beacons
- Helping consumers navigate big retail stores
- Outside real estate offices to draw in buyers
- At billboards to send offers to people in the distance
- At amusement parks to notify people of new rides and help them navigate
- At sports venues to keep track of logistics
- Compact aisles at stores
- Small offices to improve logistics
- Use at trade shows
Read about some more use cases with pocket beacons here
- In lieu of distributing flyers
- Advertising new openings instead of spinning signs
- Can be used for recruiting people
- Connect to POS systems
- In-store ATM machines to advertise offers
- Outdoor advertising and digital signage
- Can be used at events
Find out some more interesting ways you can deploy keychain beacons
Based on Beacon Protocol:
All Beaconstac beacons support both iBeacon and Eddystone protocols. This means you don’t have to buy iBeacons or buy Eddystone beacons separately. The minimum OS version on Android should be 4.3, iOS 7.1, Windows 7, and Mac OS X 10.7
Based on your budget:
The iBeacon/Eddystone beacon price mentioned below is for a pack of 3
|Indoor beacons/USB beacons
|Long Range outdoor beacons
Based on portability:
The keychain beacon or the USB beacon is your best bet if you want to transmit on the go. This lightweight, small-sized beacon can be used in several ingenious ways.
Can iOS devices receive notifications from an Eddystone beacon without an app?
At the moment, no. Google has removed support from Chrome which let iOS devices do that before. The workaround to this is to either have consumers install the relevant app or an app that supports Physical Web like Nearbee.
Can I make my own app using Beaconstac?
Yes, you can. You can use the SDK to integrate with your app or you can use our DIY app builder platform where anyone can build an app using Shoutem or manage your overall app performance with Kumulos.
Do I need to know how to code to use the Beaconstac platform?
No, you don’t. You can launch your own campaign without knowing anything about coding.
Do the beacons need to be customized?
Beaconstac beacons work right out of the box. You can have your campaign up and running within 15 minutes.
How do I mount the beacons?
All the beacons come with double-sided tape to help mount them.
Wondering, where to buy beacons?
Based on your decision to start with only beacon hardware vs investing in an end-to-end solution, the options would vary. If you want to start with only beacon hardware, you could check out Kontakt or Estimote.
However, you will only get software that will allow you to configure beacons and not run campaigns. You could log onto the Google Beacon dashboard but you can make some basic campaigns at best.
Whereas, if you want to invest in an end-to-end solution, which has beacon hardware, software to create and manage campaigns, and a powerful analytics engine, then get started with Beaconstac. Beaconstac beacons work out-of-the-box and come pre-configured. You can have your campaign up and running in 15 minutes.
With Beaconstac, you can also export analytics, integrate Google Analytics to track users and retarget users on Facebook and Google.
Since the Beaconstac platform is extremely intuitive, you can also send campaigns to consumers in their native language.
Beaconstac has 6 different kinds of beacons to offer
|Type of Beacon
||Range (in metres)
||Range (in feet)
|Indoor Beacon/USB Beacon
|Long Range Beacon
Buy beacons today and get started with your beacon journey. Start leveraging beacons to surpass your competitors and reach the right audience today.