Ten Key Insights about Apple’s Beacon Technology


  • Beacons are like lighthouses – they’re a technology service, not a product, and companies can find the one that best suits them.


Virgin Airlines uses Apple’s technology at London’s Heathrow Airport. Virgin’s marketing graphic, that is presented in one of our May reports, covers this very point about an iBeacon acting as a very small lighthouse.


  • Beacons and apps are the way to bridge the gap between online and brick-and-mortar shopping and tie the shopping experience together


  • iBeacon licensing does not allow you to track users


  • Apps and beacons run in the background and can actively push information, or passively collect information to better understand a consumer


  • “Opt-in” is key – make sure consumers opt into apps and programs before sending them information


  • When it comes to introducing proximity sensors to your shopping environment, ease into the technology – don’t scare the consumer


  • Bring the technology and marketing teams together to make an impactful change – not a tech problem, not a marketing problem, and neither can find a solution on their own – they must work together.


  • The future of location-based experiences will most likely be a hybrid of the current proximity-based technology – wifi and triangularization, beacons, etc.


  • What’s key here is contextualization, personalization, and optimization; make sure the notifications are contextually relevant based on time and place, personalized to them and their needs, and optimized based on knowledge of what works and what doesn’t


  • The more data you have – and have access to, the better


When it comes to creating a location-based shopping experience, well-known brands are putting proximity sensors, such as iBeacons, to work to both inform current shopping behavior – and create entirely new shopping experiences.


For example, Orlando Luna, Sr. Systems Engineer from Apple, noted that iBeacon proximity sensors can be arrayed on stationary items – like an entrance, items that move on occasion – such as art in a museum (a similar example was presented in one of Apple’s 2011 patent filings).



Digital Scientists’ Rately Browser


It was announced earlier this week in a press release that Alpharetta, the “Technology City of the South”, had partnered with Rately, an Alpharetta based shopping browser, to promote local shopping this holiday. Free for both shoppers and retailers, this mobile app-based program features the use of state of the art proximity sensors – known as iBeacons – to help retailers attract and reward repeat visitors. Alpharetta shoppers who have the free Rately Shopper app earn rewards just for visiting and returning to their favorite local stores and restaurants.


Alpharetta merchants can create and deliver nearly any incentive based on visits and receive regular, automatic updates about the performance of the program. After less than month, over 80% of downtown retailers have joined the program.


According to Peter Tokar, the Economic Development Director of Alpharetta, “The Alpharetta Visitor Rewards program gives retailers the technology tools they need to engage with local residents – and make holiday shopping in Alpharetta more rewarding than ever.” The Alpharetta Visitor Rewards program brings together local stores and restaurants to reinforce the incredible array of holiday shopping options available across the five retail districts of Alpharetta, including the just opened Avalon mixed use project. Said one local retailer, “We love what the City of Alpharetta is doing to promote and help local holiday shopping.”



Tom and Bob Klein, identical twins and co-CEO’s of Rately, an Alpharetta-based technology company, added that “Rately’s mission is to enable the world’s best shopping experience – so, it’s a real treat to work with the city and our local retailers to help holiday shoppers fall in love with Alpharetta.”


The Visitor Rewards Program is open to citizens of Alpharetta and beyond. Shoppers just need to download the Rately Shopper App – available in iTunes and visit any participating merchant to start earning rewards.


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Other Related iBeacon Reports


One: Chalk up another Win for Apple’s iBeacon with Ten New York Duane Read Drugstores Starting this Month

Two: Apple’s iBeacon Technology is being adopted by UK’s IPC Media and Tesco-Owned One Stop Convenient Stores