Rite Aid Will Deploy Proximity Beacons
Posted on Thursday, February 18th, 2016 at 7:00 am
Something new is coming to Rite Aid stores that customers may want to be aware of. It’s not a new product or a special sale. Instead, Rite Aid is installing beacons in many of their stores across the nation. How does this affect you, the customer?
What is a beacon?
A beacon is a low-power Bluetooth device that is placed inside a store. The beacons have one purpose – to push out promotions to a customer’s phone. The beacon can sense when a customer is nearby and will automatically start sending push notifications to that person’s smartphone (either iOS or Android).
The beacon can only do this if a customer has the store’s app on their phone. In other words, the easiest way to opt-out of having a store’s beacon send you notifications as you walk down the aisles is to refuse to download the store’s app. Doing so may give you some peace and quiet, but it also will prevent you from being offered special deals.
How many beacons are there?
Rite Aid is planning to deploy beacons in its more than 4,500 stores across the United States. The Rite Aid you shop at could already have a beacon. If not, then you can expect one to be added soon.
Rite Aid is not the only store to use beacons to send promotions to customers, but it will become the chain with the most beacons. Previously, Macy’s deployed a total of 4,000 beacons in their stores.
Why use a beacon?
There are many reasons why a store might think that using a beacon is a good idea. A customer who has the Rite Aid app and who receives a promotion from the beacon might decide to purchase the product that the promotion mentions. This could potentially increase the amount of sales in that store.
In addition, beacons enable a store to track a customer as he or she walks through the store. What did the customer look at? What aisles did he or she browse? Combine that with an app that collects data about what a person typically purchases from that store, and it may be possible to target specific consumers with specialized offers.
Why shouldn’t stores use beacons?
A customer who receives a promotion from a store’s beacon might not be interested in that particular product. Additional push notifications, for other things the customer doesn’t want to purchase, could end up annoying the customer.
That person might turn off their phone or uninstall the app. Some customers might feel uncomfortable with the idea of the store tracking their every move while they shop.