Proximity Marketing: How to Use Beacon Technology To Increase Retail Sales

/ January 2, 2019 | 7 Mins Read

Proximity Marketing: How to Use Beacon Technology To Increase Retail Sales

Proximity marketing, beacon technology has been around for a long time and smart retailers are using this tool to boost in-store sales. How?

How can you use beacon technology to increase your small business retail sales?

Proximity marketing, beacon technology has been around for a long time and smart retailers are using this tool to boost in-store sales. How?

Retail store owners are using beacon technology to meet consumer demands and create an outstanding buyer in-store experience.

To back this up, a recent survey revealed that retail store proximity marketing practices have a strong influence on shoppers buying decision. For instance, Swirl Networks Inc. shows that beacon-based marketing tactics can boost retail sales to over 70%, but when combined with loyalty programs, retail owners are able to better understand customer behavior, such as:

  • What they love to buy
  • What they do when in-store
  • How often they visit their store
  • And so forth.

beacon based marketing campaigns

In fact, the research also points out that 60% of shoppers make more in-store buys because of getting beacon-triggered advertising contents.

Further, over 60% of customers engage with beacon-triggered messages, which means that more shoppers are increasingly enticed by beacon marketing techniques.

Consequently, it is a profitable venture to use beacon technology in your retail store business, as it will help you to boost sales and increase return on investment (ROI).

But if you're new to this business module, you might be wondering…

1. What exactly is beacon technology?

Beacon technology is a small transmitter device that uses Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) wireless technology to identify shoppers location in and around stores and to transmit a notification to their smart mobile devices.

In other words, beacon technology allows mobile applications to understand their position on a local scale and convey hyper-contextual messages to consumers based on their location.

Beacon technology devices are the latest advancements of proximity marketing.

Nonetheless, you cannot use this tool if the store's app is not available and open on your smart device.

This simply means that to use this tool, you have to download the store app and enable it to receive signals. But first, you must have your store mobile app that will connect beacons for it to work for you.

On this account, beacon technology will convey messages to your mobile phone and other mobile devices near you that have the application to make a more precise location-based searching.

2. Why you should use beacon technology?

The proximity marketing–beacon technology is a must-use tool for every retailer because it enables you to attract local shoppers who are around your store, and helps them make more purchases by transmitting relevant content to their mobile devices.

The proximity marketing tool can transmit:

  • Promotion messages
  • Free offers
  • Discount contents
  • Upcoming events.

It is called “proximity marketing” because shoppers will receive alerts when they are at the proximity of your store, or when they are in the store.

With the beacon proximity marketing technology, retailers are able to understand changes in consumer buying behavior.
That is why Retail TouchPoints’ report shows that:

  • More than 70% of retail shop owners were able to calculate and understand customers buying behavior simply by using proximity marketing technology.
  • By using beacon technology, over 50% of retailers were able to create better in-store offers for buyers.

Interestingly, Global Marketing Insights calculated that the beacon technology market will surpass $25 billion by 2024.

Global marketing insignts

Notwithstanding, Google’s internal data revealed that Android devices draw over 40 billion beacon-related content from Google services yearly.

how beacons can reshape retail marketing

The data is staggering, which brings us to…

3. How Does Beacons technology Work?

By placing beacon devices around your retail store, shop owners can gather comprehensive information about consumer behavior.

This will enable you to optimize and streamline in-store customer experience (CX) and create highly personalized marketing campaigns.

A beacon technology device contains three parts, and these are:

  • Radio
  • Batteries
  • The central processing unit (CPU).

The proximity marketing device will regularly transmit an identifier that relates to your smart mobile device through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology.

Thus, your device links the identifier and records hallmark areas at your proximity or around you. The identifier is a particular identification number which your smart device will identify.

Hence, when your mobile device connects the identifier, beacon technology–the proximity marketing device will act upon what it is designed to perform–attract more customers.

To that end, the proximity retail marketing report of 2017 Q1 report revealed that small business retail owners increased ROI by 370% and profits by 10%.

4. Examples of retailers who are killing it with beacon technology marketing.


Nordstrom proximity marketing campaign is an ideal example of how retail brands are using beacons technology to improve in-store customer experience (CX) and drive more sales.

Nordstrom’s beacon-enabled mobile application sends notifications to customers who are passing by their shop about stock items in their shopping cart.

Beacon technology also enables Nordstrom to show customers their in-store online options to help to stream the buying process, as well as offer suggestions to shoppers based on their needs.


Macy’ conducted a succession of beacon marketing tests in its shops at San Francisco and New York.

The tests were so successful that Macy's had to expand its proximity marketing program by installing beacon technology to all its stores across the United States.

In fact, in all its retail shops across the country, Macy’s installed more than 4,000 beacon technology devices as part of the retail power-house’s journey to invest more in omnichannel retail technologies.

Hence, we have successfully covered what beacon technology is all about, the benefits of using it, how it work, and examples of brands that are killing it with proximity marketing.

Let us go a little further to;

5. How to use beacon marketing technology to increase retail sales.

Please continue reading…

But before we go down further, it would be nice to know why is a huge decline in in-store shopping, particularly during the holiday season.

The major reason, according to Deloitte is a high volume of the crowd. In fact, 50% of consumers cite crowds as their primary concern.

Yes, everybody wants to go shopping during the holidays, and this often results in slow checkout time because an excessive crown would be at the paying point.

barriers to shopping in store

For this and others reasons, customers prefer not to go shopping in-store.

But beacon proximity marketing can make it all go away, and here is how to take advantage of the tool.

i. Offer shoppers an option to omit the queue when making payments

As the subtitle indicates, one of the foremost reasons why customers shy away from shopping in-store is the queue–long lines and slow checkouts.

But if you can give buyers the option to make contactless payments by using a payment link via your app, or by integrating POS payment system, you will definitely improve customer in-store experience and boost sales.

Retail marketers are using beacon-integrated POS technology system to offer a faster and safer payment services solution, which enhances customer experience (CX) and boost sales.

ii. Tell shoppers to download your mobile app

Why should you ask your customers to download your mobile app?

Because it will help you increase sale. In fact, a recent survey revealed that over 80% of retail shoppers used their mobile devices inside a physical store to review items, compare prices, and so on.

how consumers use mobile phones in stores

From the above graphic, you can see that 60% of customers would research a product before they make purchases. While 50% would check and compare prices before they buy a product.

Therefore, if you have your store app, or if you’re considering creating your own mobile app, ensure that it has all the functionalities listed above.

You would be surprised at how fast shoppers will download your app...

furthermore, you can get consumers to download your mobile application by publicizing it via social media and other ads campaign strategies such as:

  • Free offers
  • Contest
  • Discounts

In view of this, a recent analysis pointed out that the major reasons buyers would allow you to track their in-store activities and send them to push notification are discounts and coupons.

Consequently, it is vital that you use beacon technology in your retail store.

iii.  Allow shoppers to add items to the chart

The holiday season comes with remarkable benefits; one increasing in retail sales, so much that many shop owners can easily run out of stock.

However, with beacons, you can handle the situation correctly.

Pro tip: While shoppers are in your store, send them a notification that would allow them to add items to chart. This process will allow your customers to add items they didn't find while in your retail store.

As a result, when the item(s) becomes available in your store, you can comfortably reach out to them to return and make purchases. So use beacon technology in your store

iv. Create a seamless in-store navigation system

As yourself these questions:

  • Do I have a stress-free in-store navigation system?
  • How can I assist my customers to navigate my retail store without having any issues?
  • Do I have an in-store map in strategic areas within my store?

These are vital questions that need your urgent attention because, with a built-in in-store navigation system or map, consumers will be able to locate items they are looking for without stress.

To that end, if you place beacon proximity marketing all around your store, it will transmit messages to in-store shoppers–helping them to identify where to find items they are looking for.

v. Get customer feedback to boost retail sales

One of the best marketing tools that will enable you to grow your business in style is customer feedback. Why?

Because it helps you pinpoint what consumers are saying about your products. With customer feedback, you can identify whether they're happy with your product or services and also help you make improvements as requires.

Thus, to get customer feedback, use beacon device to send surveys to shoppers when exiting your store. The information you obtain will enable you to create a better in-store customer experience (CX).

Wrapping it up

Beacons technology is a powerful proximity marketing techniques that are helping retail marketers to drive massive sales, and you need to take advantage of it as well.

It can dramatically increase your retail store sales much more than you can imagine. But you must learn how to use this tool correctly to increase sales.

Therefore, apply the tips in this article to help boost sale.

Here is a recap of the tips we covered as a reminder:

  • Offer shoppers an option to omit the queue when making payments
  • Ask consumers to download your mobile app
  • Allow shoppers to add items to the chart
  • Create a seamless in-store navigation system
  • Get customer feedback to boost retail sales

We would like to know the tips that are working for you. Tell us in the comments section.

Moss Clement is a freelance blogger and content marketing manager at Writers Per Hour. He is working closely with B2B marketers and individuals like you to grow your business by delivering highly informative content that is tailored to the needs of your buyer persona. Connect with him on Twitter & LinkedIn.

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