They can both be used as a way to lure potential customers to a physical store front or location, according to an opinion piece that Keenan Baldwin, cofounder of location intelligence technology provider SiteZeus, wrote for Chain Store Age.
“As retailers, we’re learning that location is really the crux of progress when it comes to store fronts versus online shopping. And although Bluetooth beacons and Pokémon GO are entirely different beasts, they have something huge in common: They work by keeping track of a user’s location,” according to Baldwin. “Picking the right location for your business is crucial, but the technology is there; some platforms allow businesses to visualize potential store fronts on a map and project their revenues based on demographic and location factors. Luring in customers beyond the usual foot traffic, however, isn’t always as straightforward.”
Baldwin said the practical retail applications of Bluetooth or iBeacons really start to get interesting when you start to think about the apps that can be built around them. Target, he notes, is testing out uses for beacons in 50 of its stores and is using them to send push notifications to consumers nearby, as well as updates to its mobile app that include promos and top-selling items. When McDonald’s tested beacons at some of its Istanbul restaurants, Baldwin says the fast food chain offered proximity deals, like a free beverage.
“As far as technology goes, iBeacons leave room for unprecedented originality and customization; no two retailers will use them exactly the same way, or even for the same purposes,” Baldwin writes.
As far as the retail applications for Pokémon GO, Baldwin believes that businesses can benefit by using “lures” to draw potential customers to their stores in pursuit of a rare Pokémon.
“’Lures’ are in-app purchases that essentially draw Pokémon — and, subsequently, Pokémon catchers — to wherever they are placed,” Baldwin writes. “Using a lure can significantly increase foot traffic — and revenue. It’s also a fun advertising campaign; place a lure and advertise it to promote an event and embrace the Pokémon players as they arrive.”