50% of mobile shoppers open to beamed messages

Close to half of all smartphone owners are open to receiving location-based messages, if it means receiving more personalized offers.

Forty-five percent of these shoppers said they were 'very willing' or 'somewhat willing' to receive messages from retailers on their smartphones, according to recent research from eDigitalResearch.

Retailers and brands are actively exploring location-based, direct messages through a variety of platforms including Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iBeacon BLE technology. Beacons allow retailers to send location-based content to smartphone owners via apps on a robust, in-store network. But there has been some question as to how receptive shoppers are to location-based messaging and retailers are grappling with delivering meaningful content that engages without being creepy.

But the lure of better deals seems likely to jump that "creepy" hurdle. According to the study, shoppers would most like to receive special offers and promotions, as well as discount codes. A handful of respondents also expressed interest in receiving store or product information, as well. Of the 1,300 smartphone owners surveyed, one third believe that personalized, direct messages sent straight to their smartphone when out shopping would 'likely' or 'very likely' influence their purchase decisions.

Shoppers, it seems, really are willing to give up privacy for discounts: 78 percent of those surveyed said they would be 'extremely willing' or 'somewhat willing' for retailers to use data gathered from smartphones if it meant more personalized messages.

"Apple subtly introduced iBeacon technology into the market at the end of 2013. As retailers and brands get to grips with what it is and how it works, consumer opinion demonstrates that it could potentially revolutionize the in-store shopping experience," said Derek Eccleston, commercial director at eDigitalResearch. "We found last year that half of smartphone owners regularly shop through retail apps and have them installed on their mobiles. It opens up the potential for retailers to digitally reach outside their stores and tempt smartphone owners in, increasing footfall and, as these results demonstrate, boost their revenue streams."

Mobiquity Technologies recently released a new software developer kit (SDK) allowing retailers to develop apps that work on the company's Bluetooth-based network, turning on beacons at roughly 100 U.S. shopping malls. Shopkick's beacon network is currently being tested at Macy's (NYSE: M) locations. Safeway (NYSE: SWY) and Giant Eagle rolled out beacons to 150 supermarkets in December 2013, iBeacon developer Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) features iBeacons in all 254 of its U.S. stores and American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO) announced a rollout to 100 stores in January.

For more:
-See this eDigitalResearch report

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