The future of shopping is here. In a short span of time, every one of us will take our smart phones to get ready for a hi-tech shopping journey.
Beacons, small transmitters, guide customers through smart shopping. If your smart phone falls within its range of operation, and if you have permitted it to access your location, you will be given a good amount of information on various deals, special discounts and other promotional offers.
Powered by a wireless protocol called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), the beacons communicate with devices that are within a range say few centimeters to 45 meters, depending on the maker. For you to enjoy the convenience this mode of shopping offers, you just have to have your Bluetooth on and discoverable, and grant permission to that relevant payment or beacon app to be accessed by these transmitters (beacons). What is interesting is that you do not need a working mobile connection on your smart phone. Isnâ€™t it?
Imagine this. You are wandering past a store in a mall, and your smart phone lights up. It alerts you to special deals, signature merchandise that are up for sale, limited period offer and other information that will draw you inside. Not just that, these transmitting devices are all set to challenge the need to pay at a cashier when your purchase items. When you go browsing, other beacons will lure you with discounts, and should you want to shop something, allow you to pay for items- then and there- by means of a payment gateway app like PayPal.
The new operating system, iOS7, which Apple released last week, includes iBeacon. In fact, its snubbing of NFC in favour of the budding beacon technology is a sign of things to come. The Cupertino based tech company has not disclosed its strategy behind this, but has made it clear that beacon technology can deliver great mapping accuracy indoors.
Many startups like Estimote appear to be taking note of these developments to boot. Founded by Polish scientists, this startup is into the business of selling beacons, and in near future may offers business analytics solutions to retailers about what makes a customer interested in a shop. They have started taking preorders for beacons with a pack of 3 beacons going at $99. And, with Paypal to roll out their beacon based systems as early as the first quarter of the next year, we can surely say that beacons are far from just an apparition and are all set to take the whole shopping world by storm.
Thanks to sophisticated technology, and apps such as iBeacon, smart phone users now have the power to do more.