5 powerful beacon use-cases for 2021: Takeaways from 2020
Last Updated:  December 28, 2020
Beacons have come a long way ever since they were introduced by Apple in 2013 as iBeacon. Beacons have evolved from being used as marketing gimmicks to now focused purely on customer engagement.
Seven years after its inception, beacons have found its niche in engaging with customers with a location-relevant experience. Today, beacon technology has finally transitioned from a push marketing strategy to an opt-in strategy.
The technology is being deployed by various industries for multiple use-cases, ultimately benefiting consumers. The consumer-first policy of companies coupled with beacon technology has proven to be rather beneficial.
According to GeoMarketing, by 2020, the number of beacon deployments is expected to reach 400 million globally.
About 3.9 million out of 5.1 million of proximity sensors deployed globally are beacons, which matches with ABI Research’s forecast of 400 million beacons deployed by 2020.
Jon Worley, CEO of Proximity Marketing Division at Proxama says, “Use of beacons became a reality in 2015”. Four years later, they are not at its nascent stage anymore and are augmented into various verticals. Beacons are used in more industries than just retail, including –
Beacon technology can be implemented both on-cloud and at-area, which is steadily gaining traction and promoting its growth in the coming years.
Here are some of the best use-cases of beacons that were deployed in 2019 that can be carried forward to 2021 –
1. Trump’s Digital Campaign
Donald Trump is definitely winning this feat – his digital campaign. The technical sophistication and intelligence of the president’s digital campaign are surely turning heads as his hidden advantage of incumbency.
Managed by Brad Parscale, the Trump re-election machine has invested millions compared to any of his Democrat counterparts to increasingly superior microtargeting techniques.
The nitty-gritty of Trump’s campaign
Trump’s campaign has leveraged beacons, which is coupled with effective segmentation and targeting proving that he is winning this campaign. Signals transmitted by beacons are sent to third-party apps/vendors which then uses voters’ Mobile Advertising IDs; every phone has a unique MAID (Mobile Advertising ID). The campaign uses this ID to recognize the phone to track the user and the interest of its user, creating a portrait of them. Using this information, campaigns can effectively target potential voters with advertising, calls, and can even send campaign representatives to their homes.
Say, a potential voter is close to a Trump rally. The campaign can collect MAIDs for smartphones in a rather closed geographical area – “information based on the location and their device’s proximity to beacons” to encourage them to attend the rally. Campaigns can also leverage this data to collect additional information by messaging users with questionnaires, email sign-up forms, and surveys.
Reid Vines, Vice President for Majority Strategies quoted, “Trump’s re-election quest will be the most sophisticated data-driven campaign we’ve ever seen.”
“Trump is popular for integrating technology to use advanced commercial marketing tools and Facebook’s thriving data-driven abilities to reach potential supporters,” says Colin Delany, Democratic digital consultant.
In this high-tech political warfare, Trump is surely winning the digital campaign. The Republican party has invested highly in the technology of beacons, letting them target potential voters based on location, age, gender, affinity, consumer behavior, similar audiences, and retargeting users who have already interacted with an ad.
The Carrefour team rolled out beacon technology in-store and to send push notifications to customers upon arrival, suggest items based on the purchases made before, and display relevant coupons. The brand’s total number of app users shot by 600 percent, whilst its in-app time increased 400 percent, which then added to their additional sales and streamlined shopping experiences.
Consumers were sent welcome messages upon arrival, product recommendations, and mobile coupons. As a result of leveraging beacon technology, the number of sign-ups for the app shot nearly overnight.
Beacons were able to offer the multinational retailer information about their customers’ locations in real-time, including alerts of consumers in the most popular sections and users who lingered for longer periods of time closeby.
Beacons help consumers experience a rather frictionless shopping experience. With the liability of tracing their consumers, Carrefour improved its store displays and offerings to attain customer loyalty and to elevate its profitability.
Founded in 1970, Sephora is a pioneer in beauty products. Acquired by LVMH in 1997, the luxury beauty giant claims that there are approximately 2,300 retail stores with 30,000 employees operating across 33 nations.
The Sephora Innovation Lab, launched in 2015 elevated the company’s ability to improve technologically that could be leveraged across the web, mobile, and in-store to create a more seamless shopping experience.
The cosmetics giant took advantage of beacons in order to remain as a leader in digital beauty retail. With the introduction of in-store beacons, Sephora caters to a wide variety of digital demands to its customers including birthday alerts to remind them to pick up a specialty package complementary with a purchase during their birthday month and loyalty program updates, as well as an augmented reality application.
“When we launched our Sephora To Go app, we gave customers the ability to scan any product in-store to read ratings and reviews, and beacons are the next strategic step in the evolution of our in-store messaging,” says Bridget Dolan, Vice President of Sephora’s Innovation Lab.
With the help of beacons, when a consumer walks in a Sephora store with the app open, they get a map of the store and daily promotions. It is also integrated with their wish list and shopping cart. In addition to this, beacons also give store reps access to the customer’s purchase history so they can help them locate the product easily and suggest new products that suit their taste.
Beauty Insider rewards program members also receive updates if and when new training occur in-store.
4. Vulcania Theme Park
Vulcania, an educational amusement park is located in the astounding scenery of Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Park in France. The amusement park provides a fun and interactive journey, revealing the mysteries of the Earth, exploring volcanoes and learning about the forces of nature.
The amusement park deployed 160 beacons on its vast grounds, with its iBeacon app available for download in the App Store and Google Play.
The Vulcania app also amps the visitor flow throughout the park. The app rearranges the list of attractions on screen, pushing forward the ones closest to the user’s location and have the shortest waiting time. In addition to this, visitors can also receive location and profile-based discount coupons and notifications whilst waiting in a queue.
Joel Mossand, one of the engineers explains, “The users know where they are on a map, select a location, and say “I want to go here”. A GPS-like view, which works with 350 real pictures will guide them to the selected attraction. Pictures change in real-time, as a new location (POI) is reached.
Japan’s Nagoya University Hospital deployed beacons to capture patients’ vital signs and positions, including the movements of staff members. The hospital set up in 1871, encompasses more than 1,000 beds and serves 573,400 outpatients annually.
Deploying beacon technology to serve inside the gigantic hospital only added value. The beacons track the locations of staff members and understand where they go. Plus, they also gauge how long and how often they interact with patients.
In addition to this, the beacons trace each patient’s vital signs, including their heart rates, physical movement, and stress levels. These are then transmitted to the hospital staff members’ individual beacons alerting them of their location and level of their hospital beds.
Nagoya University Hospital uses MEDiTAG sensor-based beacon wristband to collect and transmit patients’ vital signs. Staff members use individual beacons inserted into their nurse-card holders to learn about the patients’ granular location data. The main objective behind implementing beacons is to determine how well this technology can calculate nurses’ responses to patients’ exigency and the subsequent treatments those patients obtain.
Both the beacons used transmits the received data to fixed beacon receivers installed in the roof of hospital rooms (one per room).
As soon as a patient receives a wristband, the sensors collect their vital signs, which are further transmitted to gateway readers via BLE, along with the wristband’s unique ID number. These gateways capture the data to forward it to third-party software, hosted on the cloud. The wristband’s unique ID does not store the patient’s personal information.
The market of global beacon technology stood at $1.17 billion in 2018. This number is projected to grow at a CAGR of 61.58% during 2019-2024 to reach $16.75 billion by 2024, simply because of the increase in demand for contextually-relevant and helpful marketing.
Now that the growth of beacon technology is at its peak, and thus, various industry verticals are implementing it to not bring back customers, but to enhance their businesses by proving to be handy. With the new roll-out of safety features by smartphone manufacturers, businesses leveraging beacons are now gaining their users’ trust by seeking permission for every update sent.
One of the biggest deal breakers of first-generation beacons was that individual beacons could be only executed for a single action at one location for a single application only. Beacons can now be allocated with multiple actions to a single beacon, allowing developers to edit the code by adding them to the beacon dashboard. With the advantage of this, apps can be developed without any hassle where the key variable is location and can assign multiple interactions to those location(s), which is a far more streamlined development process.
Considering these aforementioned facts, a number of industries are positioning themselves to leverage this technology as a strategy to not just earn more market share, but also cater to users in more ways than one to ultimately create a seamless consumer journey.
Will 2021 be the year you get onboard?
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