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UK Firm Offers iBeacon Technology Free to Retailers

Beacon technology could stand to change the game for the future of retail, and now that one UK firm is offering the technology–and installation–free to retailers, the devices that allow for location relevant engagement may revolutionize retail even more quickly.

The tiny sensors provide a continuous, personalized experience for shoppers, a new necessity for today’s buyer. A retailer can program a beacon with all of its product data, and as the shopper enters the store–provided they opt in to the technology–that data pops up on their mobile device. The data then updates based on the shopper’s proximity to an item, and provides instant information about sales or ratings and reviews for that product.

Appflare, founded in 2013, says it is doubling down on retail because of how much brands love beacons–and need them. Because the technology is new, and can be cost-prohibitive, Appflare said it would provide the devices for free so that retailers can skip the often lengthy approval cycles for technology implementations, and start engaging customers now.

For the next two months, Appflare is making its full beacon hardware, plus installation and maintenance solution free to retailers selling fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs) or basic necessities, and alcohol or publishing brands for a total of three years. The catch? Retailers will have to allow brand campaigns to be run in their stores.

Owen Geddes, Appflare founder and CEO said, “The reason why we are offering iBeacon technology to retailers for free is because we don’t think the value lies in the hardware, but in the meaningful contact with a customer. Retailers want to get their iBeacon solutions installed by September in time for the Christmas lock-down. Offering the service for free eases the installation process, which is great news for brands that are currently preparing their festive campaigns.”

Beacon technology is one area to watch as the new retail landscape takes shape. Retail futurist, Doug Stephens said beacons will be pivotal in personalizing the shopping experience for every consumer.

“At some point in the near future,” Stephens said, “We’re going to walk into stores, take what we want and walk out.”