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Retailers seize on potential of beacon technology

Retailers and consumer goods groups are turning to beacon technology in a drive to make shopping in physical stores more like e-commerce, as they try to connect online behaviour with offline sales. Beacons enable targeting based on a person's exact location, meaning a department store could alert a shopper to a designer's new collection when they are near the clothes, or a detergent brand could send a coupon to customers standing in front of its product. At stores including Lord  & Taylor, Walmart, Urban Outfitters and Sephora, shoppers can choose to receive targeted messages on their smartphones offering personalised coupons, alerting them to sale items that may be of interest based on past purchases. Dan Schulman, PayPal's incoming chief executive, commented: 'The difference between online commerce and offline commerce is blurring and disappearing.' With over half of customers using their mobile phones while shopping in a physical store, 'it's not a far cry to see them use it all the way and check out through that mobile device'.

 

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