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The Associated Press has a story about how retail beacons "are popping up everywhere," providing retailers with a new way to communicate with consumers in a targeted and economical fashion.

The AP frames the story this way:

"The square or rectangular devices, smaller than a smartphone, can hang on a wall or be placed on a machine and communicate with your phone via Bluetooth signals. Accessed through apps you download to your smartphone, beacon technology can do everything from guide you to the correct airport terminal to turn on your coffee maker as you sleepily enter the kitchen. In retail, beacons aim to entice you to spend money. As you enter a store, your smartphone might light up with a sale alert. Stand in the dress section for a while and a coupon may pop up for something on a nearby hanger."

And, some interesting statistics:

"Between July and September, 30 percent of shoppers who received a "push-ad" from an in-store beacon used that offer to buy something, according to a survey by Swirl, a marketing company that has created beacon plans for retailers such as Lord & Taylor, Hudson's Bay, Alex and Ani, Kenneth Cole and Timberland. Sixty percent of shoppers opened beacon-sent messages, and over half of those surveyed said they would do more holiday shopping at the stores as a result of their beacon experience."
KC's View:
For me, this checks off a very important box in what I'd want from a marketing tool - it is highly targeted, building on the expressed interest and activity of existing customers. That is incredibly important for retailers, who need to find every possible way to create and sustain connections to shoppers.