A beacon for personalized customer engagement

May 31, 2016



A case for using beacons in combination with other technologies to create a truly custom customer experience.

Data savvy companies anticipate customers’ needs. Providing customers with a highly personalized experience that empower them with information at a time when they are ready to take action can be challenging. Context is critical and beacons can play an important role in helping deliver the right experience at the right time.

A beacon is a low-powered proximity device that broadcasts its presence via low-energy Bluetooth signals to nearby devices, like a smart phone. Its broadcast range can be set within six inches to 250 feet and will generally retail for around $30, depending on the supplier. A mobile device can pick up the beacon’s unique identifier and a beacon-enabled mobile app can use it to identify a user’s location and respond accordingly.

Beacon technology enables a contextual layer of location data. When combined with other information, it can provide benefits to both the customer and the organization such as real-time offers, notifications, indoor directions, and the ultimate personalized experience.

How do Beacons Work?

  1. The customer downloads a beacon-enabled mobile app to their smart device.
  2. When the customer enters the vicinity of a beacon (such as inside a store or cafe) their smart device immediately recognizes the low-energy Bluetooth signal.
  3. The signal carries the beacon identifier which can be used by the mobile app to trigger contextual actions such as a smart device notification or a personalized offer on a nearby display kiosk.

How are Beacons Making a Difference?

Enhancing the customer experience: A major airline integrated beacons into their gate and boarding processes to automate check-in and push notifications with boarding pass, gate, and carousel information. The result was a faster and more efficient check-in for flyers and reduction in airline staffing requirements.

Pushing timely notifications: A retailer used beacons to make timely offers to customers picking up online orders from a brick and mortar location. As a result, they created an additional marketing channel for up-sale revenue opportunities.

Improving indoor navigation: A sports organization used beacons to handle people traffic in and around a stadium. They beamed information collected from beacon-enabled mobile apps to enable spectators to avoid long lines and navigate more efficiently to their destination. The result was a much better customer experience by helping spectators avoid long lines and get to their seats faster.

Even with rich data, providing a personalized customer experience can be challenging as consumers are continually bombarded with offers across both the digital and physical space.  It’s increasingly critical for companies to anticipate what a customer wants/needs at the right time or risk getting lost in the noise. Paired with the ubiquity of smart devices, beacons can provide the right level of context to create a truly engaging customer experience.


Niko Pipaloff contributed to this post.



Chris Curran

Principal and Chief Technologist, PwC US Tel: +1 (214) 754 5055 Email

Vicki Huff Eckert

Global New Business & Innovation Leader Tel: +1 (650) 387 4956 Email

Mark McCaffery

US Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Leader Tel: +1 (408) 817 4199 Email