iBeacons in retail

How can iBeacons help make the shopping experience more engaging and personal using data in order to understand the consumer's needs and approach them with one-to-one marketing.

Henrik Jansen Thomsen

M.Sc Business Administration and Information Systems

Project partners:


Online retailers are outcompeting brick-and-mortar stores in terms of sales and revenue. The main reason for this is the online businesses unique ability to utilize data in order to understand their customers and approach them with one-on-one marketing.

Brick-and-mortar stores on the other hand, lack of ways to collect and utilize data about their customers, and are thus not able to approach their customers with data-driven marketing. A solution to this problem could be sensor technology such as Apple’s iBeacon solution.

iBeacon is Apple’s implementation of Bluetooth low-energy technology to create a different way of providing location-based information and services to iPhones and other iOS devices. The beacons themselvers are small, cheap Bluetooth transmitters. Apps installed on your iPhone listen out for the signal transmitted by these beacons and respond accordingly when the phone comes into range.

One action of the application could for example be to collect and store data on what products you were interested when walking around the store. Based on this information in connection with other sources of data such purchase history or their loyalty profile, the retailer can later offer the shopper contextualized deals. This could for example be through email or directly on the mobile device the next time the customer enters the same store (or another store of the same chain).

The topic of the project will therefore be centered on how and whether brick-and-mortar stores can replicate the success online retailers have in terms of utilzing data driven marketing and sales, and implement it into their physical stores.

The project has a specific focus on:
  • How and what data can iBeacons collect about physical retail stores’ customers and their shopping behavior?

  • How can the collected data be utilized to create business value and ultimately increase sales?

  • How can an iBeacon solution be used to deliver context based one-to-one marketing?

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