Competition Ramps up to Reach Customers in Stores

bigstock-Crowd-in-the-mall-18927353Watch out, sooner than later companies will be tracking and targeting you while you’re shopping.  Big-name companies such as Apple and Qualcomm have begun selling proximity beacons to send and manage information to consumers.

Apple’s iBeacon technology is currently being deployed in 254 U.S. retail stores.  Qualcomm announced this week that it has started selling its Bluetooth beacons for $5-10.  While it’s unclear if retailers will adopt this technology, the ability to track shopper location has long been coveted from retailers.

The technology works by have coin-size Bluetooth beacons hand on merchandise displays.  Then shoppers must give their permission to be tracked and receive offers, presumably matching the very product nearby.  In addition to cellphone offers, the beacons could also trigger relevant ads on digital signs.  This technology could be used in most retailers, as well as stadiums or other large public venues.

Location tracking does raise privacy concerns but both Qualcomm and Apple note that consumers must give their permission to take part in the technology.