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Digital Path to Purchase: and iBeacon Technology: What CPG clients and manufacturers need to know

Omnichannel customer engagement strategy

2014 is the year of beacons. With 80% of consumers using Smartphones and 80% of Smartphone owners wanting more mobile optimized product information while shopping in store, beacons are literally transforming omnichannel marketing. At BARD, we believe iBeacon technology will be another compelling tool as part of an overall shopper marketing strategy.

What is iBeacon?

iBeacon is a low cost, low power transmitter that sends out a Bluetooth signal (beacon) that a Smartphone app can pick up when it’s nearby. iBeacons do not deliver or receive any content, the Smartphone app detects the iBeacon and decides what content to deliver (i.e. proximity marketing, coupons, directions). ABI Research predicts that 30,000 beacons will be installed in indoor locations by the end of 2014 and within five years there will be 60 million networks in use.

Recent iBeacon CPG test programs

In terms of grocery, Safeway and Giant Eagle rolled out test programs earlier this year. Pharmacy chain Duane Reade is testing in select New York locations, and Hillshire Farms as well. As part of their pilot program, Duane Reade updated their app with new features including access to their in-store rewards account, historical coupon data, and maps of the store locations including shelf position for individual items.

Hillshire Farm’s American Craft Link tested a program using iBeacon technology and increased purchase intent by 20X from 1X with a 36% lift in brand awareness. The program was deployed in 20 stores in the top 10 DMAs. Jimmy Dean will soon be launching a program as well.



Technology overview

Who will be responsible for installing the iBeacons? It depends on if it is a brand or retailer driven initiative. The iBeacon will typically be installed within a brick and mortar location and will require a native mobile app that interprets proximity location on the device. iBeacons are relatively inexpensive and have a battery life of up to 2 years. The technology allows for up to 10–30 feet to reach a consumer through push notifications. Endcap displays will serve as a perfect spot for the iBeacon technology within retail locations.


With more retailers installing the iBeacon technology, BARD believes the time is ripe for manufacturers to run a pilot program. Consumer data will become available and retailers will gain new insights into shopper behavior and preferences. In addition, a program can be done with budgets significantly lower than a TV campaign for example. The key will be to test, learn and iterate as part of understanding the path to purchase.

We would love to help with your marketing challenges. To schedule a call contact Lee Ann at or call 952 345 6265

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