Phy-gital Roundtable: Breakfast Roundup from Germany and Netherlands

02 May '15 | Debjyoti Paul

German Shoppers: Meet Them in the Fast Lane to Phy-gital

15 January '15 | Ralf Reich

Shoppers Will Share Personal Information (But They Don’t Want to be “Friends”)

15 January '15 | Anil Venkat

Modernize or Perish: Property and Casualty Insurers and IT Solutions

14 January '15 | Manesh Rajendran

Benelux Reaches the Phy-gital Tipping Point: Omnichannel Readiness is Crucial

13 January '15 | Anil Gandharve

The New Omnichannel Dynamic: Finding Core Principles Across Industries

13 January '15 | Debjyoti Paul

Technology does not disrupt business – CIO day 2014 Roundup

02 December '14 | Anshuman Singh

Apple Pay – The Best Is Yet To Come

02 December '14 | Indy Sawhney

Digital transformation is a business transformation enabled by technology

01 December '14 | Amit Varma

3 Stages of FATCA Testing and Quality Assurance

06 October '14 | Raman Suprajarama

3 Reasons why Apple Pay could dominate the payments space

18 September '14 | Gaurav Johri

Beacon of Hope: Serving Growth and Customer Satisfaction

05 August '14 | Debjyoti Paul

The Dos and Don’ts of Emerging Technologies Like iBeacon

30 July '14 | Debjyoti Paul

What You Sold Us On – eCommerce Award Finalist Selections

17 July '14 | Anshuman Singh

3 Steps to Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

04 June '14 | Koushik Ramani

8 Steps to Building a Successful Self Service Portal

03 June '14 | Giridhar LV

Innovation outsourced – a myth or a mirage or a truth staring at us?

13 January '14 | Ramesh Hosahalli

What does a mobile user want?

03 January '14 | Gopikrishna Aravindan

The Dos and Don’ts of Emerging Technologies Like iBeacon

Posted on: 30 July '14

For some time now, we at Mindtree have been promoting the use of context-aware offers to individual shoppers in retail stores. For instance, a mother who pauses in the produce section of a supermarket gets an alert on her phone – maybe it’s a promotional discount on shiitake mushrooms; or a recipe guide for making fruit snacks that are fun and appealing to kids; or an offer to have a store staffer collect all the pre-packaged items on her shopping list while she chooses her produce individually.

These kinds of scenarios are fast becoming a reality as stores deploy technology like iBeacon. These “indoor positioning system” technologies can help retailers know not just when a shopper is in a store (or even in a particular aisle within a store), but also help to identify her uniquely, irrespective of which Bluetooth-enabled device is with her at that time (amongst several that she may own). Furthermore, iBeacon will not only allow the store to communicate with her, but also transact with her mobile phone, initiating a digital payment and e-invoice, for example.

But if the good news is that the technology to do this is available and mature, then the bad news is that there is still one more hurdle to get over: the customers themselves. A recent OpinionLab survey found that 77% of U.S. adults (including millennials) do not want to be tracked via their smartphones while in retail stores, and 44% say they’re less likely to shop at a store if it tracks mobile devices.

Winning Your Way Into Their Phones

The numbers are severe enough to frighten away retailers who want to use technology like this, but can’t afford to scare away the customers that come into their stores. But this technology is too much of a game-changer to walk away from, and the survey did allow for the possibility of changing consumers’ minds. When asked what might convince them to participate in a tracking program, two answers left the door open: receiving price discounts (61%) and getting free products (53%).

With that in mind, we recommend the following to win over these consumers:

  • Let them opt in and make your intentions transparent. When you consider that 67% of respondents said they disliked tracking because it “feels like spying,” transparency is crucial in overcoming this psychological hurdle.
  • Make it about them, not about you. The survey found that 61% of respondents felt retailers would only use tracking data to benefit the company, not the customer, so it’s important to offer compelling value (like discounts or freebies) if you want them to opt-in. But don’t only make it about promotions – also show them that you will enrich their shopping experience and deliver deeply personalized attention and value every time you know they are in your store.
  • Make it secure. The top reason people fear tracking (69%) was that they don’t trust retailers to keep their data private and secure. Collaborating with an expert IT partner who can secure all information is crucial, as is making it clear to customers that you take it seriously.

Of course, winning their hearts and minds enough to have them download your app and be tracked is only half the battle. How to make the most of this kind of technology inside and outside the store is the other half, and something I will address in a follow-up.

Consumers just say no to in-store mobile tracking, Internet Retailer, March 27, 2014

Debjyoti Paul

Debjyoti Paul leads Industry Solutions for Mindtree's Digital Business. Some of the solutions areas he is working on are assortment optimization for CPG companies, Omni-channel retail, trade promotion insights and measurement / attribution of digital marketing. He has led Platforms and Solutions in Infosys in the past, apart from co-founding a fast-growing e-commerce company (now He has lived CPG and Retail through his nearly 2 decade career, starting with Unilever. He has authored several articles in the areas of mobility, retail execution and big data in publications like Consumer Goods Technology and Retail Customer Experience. He is also a regular speaker at international industry forums such as National Retail Federation, Consumer Goods Technology and other client forums.