iBeacon Obstacles to Know

iBeacon, the technology that allows iOS apps to receive location-aware notifications over Bluetooth low-energy, has proven to be a great way to reach customers as they walk down the grocery aisle. If fact, a report from Adobe said that more than 50 percent of mobile marketers are using iBeacon technology or plan to do so within next year. However it’s important to understand how quickly customers could easily become overwhelmed by message overload and have concerns around privacy.

Imagine having your local grocery store’s app installed, and on the next shopping trip, your phone starts blowing up with several notifications as you walk around, without even opening your app. A lot of people find that to be very annoying and intrusive and they might even delete the app entirely. In fact, a study found that sending shoppers more than one push notification per store visit caused a 313 percent drop in app usage. And according to inMarket, a company that works with stores and brands to implement iBeacons, users who got two or more messages started deleting the apps that provided them or stopped checking those apps all together. The bottom line: there is a huge possibility that customers won’t or will less frequently use their iBeacon apps after an instance of being overwhelmed by in-store marketing via push notifications.

Privacy is also a huge concern among consumers. More and more people are learning about how their information can be picked up by iBeacon’s location-sensitive tracking. For example, the showing “profile” of a user can be accessed. This means that retailers, brands and marketing agencies will know how many times someone visits a store, what their preferences are, and even the person they were with (only if they had their phone on them). Even though this is great for those who want the opportunity to possess valuable insights into shopping behavior, it’s not great for consumers concerned with privacy and security. A recent Pew Report, cited by Pando Daily, indicated that while many smartphone users want to use their phone to navigate, the majority does not want their phone’s navigational capabilities to be used to target them.

With contributions by Anna Pennington


Brad is an expert in private label and challenger brand food marketing for Barkley, an integrated marketing and advertising agency. He specializes in working with manufacturing-driven food companies that have aspirations to develop a consumer insight-led strategies to help drive innovation and growth.

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