Survey: 15% of Consumers Have Engaged with In-Store Beacons

In-store beacons continue to be a hot topic, mainly because it is an interesting technology with practical application for local marketers, but many questions and concerns surround them. Still in the early stages, the value proposition for beacon technology is mostly limited to national brands with just a few use cases (Hillshire Brands) and early adopters (Macy’s).

Just as fresh as the beacon discussion is in the local media and marketing space, I would imagine many consumers are either completely unaware of the technology or know little about it.  However, I was surprised by the results of a recent study from Placecast.

According to the study, 15% of consumers have engaged with in-store beacons and 52% are familiar with the technology.  This is surprising because, as documented in a report by Greg Sterling published earlier this year, there is still a great chasm of misunderstanding that stands between beacons and widespread industry adoption.

The study also showed that 34% of consumers and 44% of smartphone owners surveyed found it important to be able to pay for something at a store with a phone instead of a credit card. Much like beacons, mobile payment is yet another tech still pushing for consumer adoption, and these results show some solid consumer enthusiasm that can be built upon. Apple Pay is having a tremendous impact on all of this, and there are some major implications for the local space as a whole.

The Placecast study seems to be more a reflection of the work being done by brands and major retailers to educate, promote and implement beacon technology. On the other hand, the study showed that 36% plan to search for a coupon for a store they are in and this highlights a strong demand for these timely notifications.  Either way, as more and more of these retailers roll out beacon strategies, consumers will undoubtedly become sensitized to the technology.

However, much like the mobile ad, the privacy concerns from consumers receiving a beacon-based notification need to be offset by the added or perceived value they get out of the message.  In many ways, retailer adoption of these devices will hinge upon the ability to add value to the shopping experience.

“We should see an acceleration of indoor location adoption at national retailers over the next several quarters as they start to feel some competitive pressure,” said Greg Sterling in a recent blog post.

In addition to competitive pressure, many are watching with great interest to see how beacons will perform this holiday shopping season. Whether extremely strong or lack-luster results, the fact is that communicating deals and promotions to consumers that are already in-store is an interesting proposition that needs much more exploration.

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