Consumer Study Suggests Apple’s iBeacon Could Work for Retailers

Says most of us are OK with sharing location

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The future of mobile retail marketing has long been tied to the idea of digital offers being zapped into consumers' smartphones. But there has recently been chatter suggesting that the future is indeed finally here, thanks in large part to Apple's iBeacon technology (not to mention the emergence of wearable devices like Google Glass).

At the same time, there will be no Nathan's Hot Dogs coupon magically appearing on your phone, New York Mets fan, as you walk into Citi Field next summer—unless you consent to your location and other data being used by the ballpark. (The MLB team tested that very tactic in 2013 with the location-dependent iBeacon system.) Well, per Swirl Network's research, people are willing to hand over those small pieces of privacy for a good deal.

In the mobile marketing firm's study, 77 percent said they'd be OK with sharing location data in exchange for something of value. Swirl also found that 65 percent of respondents trust retail brands over shopping apps and tech platforms such as Google or Facebook when it comes to location data.

Swirl said it utilized independent researcher ResearchNow to survey 1,000 consumers during November.

Here are other findings of note:

  • 67 percent received shopping-related alerts on their smartphones in the past six months;
  • Of those individuals, 81 percent said they read them "most of the time," and 79 percent then made a purchase;
  • When asked why they rejected mobile shopping alerts, 41 percent stated that they were not relevant to their interests or location, while 37 percent said the offers did not provide enough value, 16 percent thought they were annoying, and 6 percent said they were spam;
  • 80 percent said they would use retailer apps more often while shopping in a store if those apps delivered sales and promotion alerts; and
  • 62 percent said they would increase their use of use retailer mobile apps in the store if the apps provided content that was more relevant to their interests and location.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.