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Connecting Merchants with Customers

Beacon Retail

Connecting Merchants with Customers

By Barton Goldenberg

Here are two significant Internet of Things technologies that are impacting merchant–customer relationships:

1. A Beacon is a very small transmitting radio that sends relevant information to a desired location.  Beacons utilize Bluetooth Low Energy technology, which is a wireless technology standard for exchanging data efficiently over short distances from fixed and mobile devices.  A person in the proximity of a Beacon or a person with a mobile app that communicates with the Beacon will receive messages transmitted from that Beacon.  Here are a couple of examples of Beacons in action:

  • Shopping at Macy’s. When if a person walks into a Macy’s store looking for blue jeans, and assuming the shopper has already downloaded the Macy app into their smartphone, the beacon will notice that the person is in the blue jean isle and transmit a special offer to the shopper via their smartphone for say a 40% discount for a particular brand of blue jeans if purchased within the next 30 minutes.

Macy’s Beacon-generated data can then be analyzed over time to determine critical pieces of information for a business such as where in a store the average consumer is spending most of their time, what departments consumers are spending most of their money on, what coupons are being used by customers, etc.  This information in turn can be used by Macy’s store planners to arrange items in the store to drive maximum customer interest and store sales.

  • Attending a San Francisco 49ers game at Levi Stadium. This marvelous football stadium has Beacons located throughout the building.  As game attendees that have downloaded the stadium app to their mobile device arrive to the stadium, they automatically receive on their mobile device instructions and a map showing where they are seated and how to get to that seat.  During the football game, Beacons will send out time-sensitive discounts to attendees on their mobile devices, e.g., an electronic coupon for a half-priced meal or a 30% discount on a 49ers’s jersey that will be good for the next 30 minutes).  The Beacon application will even store the stadium meals that the attendee has eaten at prior games and tailor the electronic promotion to that specific kind of meal.


2. WIFI technology. More and more stores are deploying WIFI technology directly inside their stores.  This already includes paying for merchandise electronically at the check-out counter.  In the future, there will be many new Internet of Things services and consumer offerings that will be available via WIFI, which is a cost-effective way to conduct proximity-based communications with customers.

In our next blog post, we will have guest blog piece by Nick Rojas (Twitter Handle: @NickARojas) concerning “Why Your Business Needs a Mobile CRM Strategy”.

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    The Definitive Guide to Social CRMBarton Goldenberg, is the founder and president of ISM Inc., customer-centric strategists/implementers serving best-in-class organizations globally. As a CRM leader for 30 years, he was among the first three inductees in the CRM Hall of Fame. Recognized as a leading “customer-focused” author, his latest book, The Definitive Guide to Social CRM, is hailed as the roadmap for Social CRM success. Barton is a popular speaker on “maximizing customer relationships to gain market insights, customers and profits”. He is a long-term columnist for CRM Magazine and speaker for CRMevolution and frequently quoted in the media.

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