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What’s best for proximity retail marketing? 2018 trends: Wi-Fi vs. Beacons

In News

Date 12/02/2018

There’s not a secret anymore that our mobile devices use location services almost all the time. These apps work by using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as GPS. Hence the question from title: what marketers will use for proximity advertising? Wi-Fi or Beacons?

If doesn’t seem clear enough, let me give you an example: push personalized notifications that pop-up on your display when you pass by a restaurant you have been in before. So it’s a fact that our mobile devices can communicate.

What we know about Beacons

Beacones use Bluetooth and are transmitters that identify the presence of a user and send data to the mobile device. The technology is very recommended for micro-activities. They provide accurate information of the customer’s location when their signal reaches the smartphone. Beacons are installed through an app and this a major difference from Wi-Fi Location Based Services that don’t need such an app. Otherwise, through Beacons, marketers could set various filters in order to personalize as much as possible the messages sent to the users.

How it works? For example, a retail location hosts a beacon device, the users might receive a customized ad message on his phone with an offer alert. Also for indoor-mapping would be a better option. Some Romanian shopping mall have also implemented the indoor-mapping, but based on GPS.

Long story short, any iOS device that allows sharing data through Bluetooth low energy can beam signals to an iBeacon app. It’s a singular case though, because other producers use a third-party hardware to issue Beacon signal.

Another important aspect is that the signal range of Beacons can be perturbed by walls, water, doors and other materials. Even the human body can obstruct the signal. The Beacons are presented in different formats from small round devices to USB sticks.

The already classic Wi-Fi Location Based Services

Probably one of the most useful tools for hospitality, retail and restaurants industries, Wi-Fi solutions improve sales and analytics and the customer experience as well. Wi-Fi location works like an internal GPS and cover the situations when GPS won’t work like indoor space or signal interruption.
What made Wi-Fi a reliable system?

First of all, it doesn’t need any app installation or Bluetooth running and is widely available and accessible in terms of costs. It’s only necessary to have a connection to the internet to transfer information.

How WiFi and Beacons can work together for a better future for proximity marketing?

Blending the features of two location based services, the area of marketing needs could be better covered at more effective costs. “Beacons definitely have a future and a place in location tracking. The main drawback for now is the fact that they usually only work when a person has the store/venue application enabled, which limits the number of people who can be reached. In future I can see us partnering up and using Beacons or other low-cost sensors to compliment our WiFi location services, taking advantage of all technology available in order to make our proposition stronger and more accurate.” - CEO of Purple WiFi, Gavin Wheeldon

Some companie already use the powerful combo

1.    Kew Gardens – The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
2.    Orlando International Airport
3.    Google deployed 2,000+ Eddystone beacons in Indian Railway stations.