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While smartphones solidified their position as in-store shopping companions last year, top retailers such as Macy’s and Target began to actively test beacon technology. At the same time, consumer awareness grew. According to October 2014 polling conducted by Harris Poll for Placecast, 57% of US smartphone owners were aware of in-store beacons, and 20% had already used them.
Consumer and retailer adoption will certainly increase this year as the technology exits the experimental phase, but the huge effect of beacons won’t be seen until next year, when explosive growth is expected. According to BI Intelligence, US in-store retail sales influenced by beacon-triggered messages will soar nearly 1,000% between 2015 and 2016, from $4.1 billion to $44.4 billion.
BI Intelligence pointed to several beacon adoption drivers, the first being mobile coupons, noting that half of beacon-triggered messages were some form of coupon (according to shopkick). And there’s no doubt that interest in mobile coupons is there: eMarketer expects 92.5 million US adults to use mobile coupons this year, representing a year-over-year increase of 17.5% and 41.2% of mobile device users.
Loyalty programs will also play a key role in beacon adoption, according to BI Intelligence. The firm noted that retailers could use loyalty apps and beacons together to reward customers for location-based actions—even if they simply walk into a store. Loyalty members will likely welcome this concept. In a May 2014 study by Razorfish, 72% of US internet users said it was important that loyalty programs had offers and promotions, and the same percentage stressed the need for brands to reward loyal customers. What’s better than having those deals served right to your fingertips when you need them?
In addition, BI Intelligence reported that beacon-triggered mobile coupons and loyalty programs will both benefit from beacon-powered apps’ data-gathering capabilities, which should provide better information to target and tailor messages served—and keep personalization-hungry shoppers coming back for more.
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