Proximity marketing has been in and out of the headlines since Apple launched iBeacons in 2013. It was a platform that ultimately failed to take off but more refined (and open-source) versions have had better success since then – namely Google’s beacon system.

Now, proximity marketing is back in the headlines, this time powered by technology that’s had time to mature. So, it’s a good time for a quick refresher on what this strategy has to offer in 2019.

What is proximity marketing?

Proximity marketing is a hyper-localised strategy that uses people’s specific locations to send highly-targeted messages. While location-based marketing uses GPS technology to track the approximate location of devices, proximity marketing aims to send messages to people based on their specific location.

For example, proximity marketing might be used to send messages to people as they walk into specific stores in a shopping mall. You can even create networks to track people as they move around a store, sending them messages based on the aisle they’re walking down or the range of products they’re looking at.

In most cases, these networks are built by installing beacons in various locations, which detect the presence of smartphones.

What are the benefits?

  • Location targeting: Beacons let you target users with messages based on their specific location.
  • Mapping: The ability to “see” where consumers go in-store and attribute actions to these journeys – e.g. gauge how many buy a product after seeing promotional signs.
  • Frequency: Measure how often people visit the same locations, how long they spend there and how these relate to sales.
  • In-store messaging: Send promotional offers to people as they look through your store or business location.
  • Guide users: With full beacon systems, you can guide people through entire shopping centres, stadiums, airports and even cities.
  • Gamification: Brands are using beacons to create treasure hunts and gamify the consumer process.
  • Cross-selling: Target shoppers with related products, special offers and other purchases as they queue up to pay.
  • Loyalty: Send loyalty rewards to people as they complete purchases.
  • Customer recalls: Send promotions and other messages to people who leave without buying anything to entice them back into the store.