Tracking and Smartphone – Spam – Why Customers Reject Beacons

photo: Jim Sorbie

Beacons can exchange data with smartphones and other smart objects via energy saving Bluetooth in a radius of up to 30 metre. Nothing other than the hope of saving stationary trade is built on this fact.

Beacons are usable in diverse ways: as an alternative to mobile payment and NFC. Apart from that, customers can receive personalised offers on their smartphone and are lead to the product via in store tracking.

Beacons offer mobile services, which no one wanted even before

Was keeps surprising me in this discussion, is why hardly anyone (Heike Scholz from mobile Zeitgeist is one of the exceptions) sees that we’re talking about worst-of mobile topics when it comes to these topics. No one uses NFC and, thanks to Apple’s refusal, this isn’t going to change. Mobile payment has also been waiting years to become relevant.

My favourite nonsense function is the ability to send push messages and to track the customer. Was anyone thinking about the customer here? Why should anyone let themselves be monitored by a company and want to be harassed by push messages? More than rebates and “tailored offers” including targeted steering towards the product have not occurred to beacon advocates.

Beacon Beispiel: barcoo Beacons
barcoo Beacons, Screen via YouTube

However, common sense as well as customer surveys make it clear that it is the pipe dreams of traders and payment providers that are at work here.

Arguments against beacons – Gut Feeling

Customers resist spam, especially on the smartphone, a very personal object which accompanied them throughout the day. What would happen if every trader in a shopping centre had the glorious idea of using beacons, preferably in combination with opt-out apps, like with Apple? Probably permanent Bluetooth deactivation and one app fewer on the customer’s smartphone.

Arguments against beacons – What the Numbers Say

A representative survey by OpinionLab shows the extent of customer disapproval of in store tracking. 77 percent of those asked don’t want their behaviour to be captured via their smartphone. Even when it comes to their favourite brand, only 38 percent are ok with it. 44 percent would then avoid the store.

The reason is the lack of trust in companies and how they used the data:

    • 88 percent would still not share their data, even if it is used to improve service
    • 81 percent don’t trust that retailers will implement tracking securely
    • 67 percent say that in store tracking feels like spying

The numbers also show that young people have the same concerns as older people.

The customer sees through the trader’s intentions

How ironic: 61 of those asked believe that companies only think about their own advantages with this technology and not about the customer. Strange, who’d have thought that “the customer” would have seen through this so easily?

Die Infographic on the study

In-Store-Tracking Infographic
Infographic via
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