The guys from Apple did it again – they got us all talking about iBeacons: Apple’s indoor positioning system. To translate that in plain English, Beacons and iBeacons are the same thing – Apple only decided to add the ‘i’;  So what are Beacons?  They are tiny bits of hardware powered by Bluetooth Low Energy technology that produce signals which are picked up by mobile phones in strategic physical locations. Those signals can tell the retailer where someone is and allow it to tailor a promotion to a consumer’s phone regardless of whether that person is connected to the Internet. For example, a clothing retailer can send an offer for a popular clothing brand to a shopper that is already in the store.

It all sounds pretty simple but are consumers prepared or even, have enough understanding to try new technology? And most of all, are emerging markets more ready for this new retail technologies?  Brazilian e-retailer Dafiti seems to think so.

How Dafiti, an online-only retailer with no physical retail locations, is planning to make money from location-based technology? The company will spread its beacons across highly trafficked areas of São Paulo. In an article from Internet Retailer, the company’s co-founder Malte Huffmann explains: “We want to increase the relevance of our mobile platforms with our customers and make the use of mobile devices an even more convenient shopping experience”. By personalizing each interaction, Huffmann says the company is planning to improve its brand awareness among those who have downloaded its app.

While retailers should consider Beacons for its multiple benefits to understand better their customers and opportunities to enhance shopping experience, if it is not used, it soon becomes useless. The big challenge for retailers is to look beyond the hype and find ways to turn this new technology into something attractive for its customers too.

Photo: beacons by – Licensed by Creative Comms