Demoing the Power of Beacon Technology | Footmarks

Demoing the Power of Beacon Technology

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a demo must be priceless.

…Or at least that was the takeaway from last week’s TechDay, when we exhibited our beacon technology at the all-day tech event.


Explaining Footmarks isn’t easy.

For starters there’s the beacon.

While we work with the technology –  and with people who work with the technology – every day, beacons have yet to become mainstream. And even seasoned technologists, like those who stopped by our booth on Thursday, had multiple questions about beacons – from the devices themselves, to the iBeacon protocol, to how beacons differ from their proximity-sensing forbearers, like GPS and NFC.

Then there were questions about the technology’s application. How could beacons be used in the retail environment? And how could location tracking, push notifications, and analytics – with obvious benefits for the retailer – be desirable, or even relevant, to the consumer?

Casey and I were eager to answer all these questions and many more. (And you can find information about beacon technology and Footmarks’ full suite of services on our new FAQ update to our blog). But we learned quickly that the most intuitive and compelling way to convey the power of beacon technology, and the flexibility of the Footmarks platform, is through a quick demo. Not content to hear just one, most visitors stayed at our booth to watch all three demos we’d prepared for the day.


While nothing does justice to Casey’s animated delivery live and in person, here are the three demos we showcased to a packed house at the New York tech event.


1. Jon, his wife Suzan, and a much wished-for watch: Closing a sale and strengthening a marriage.

  • Suzan is browsing the online site of a major jewelry retailer. She sees a watch she likes and, reluctant to make the purchase then and there, adds it to her online wish list.

  • Two weeks later, Suzan’s husband Jon is on a business trip in Denmark, and walks by one of the jeweler’s retail stores. With the jeweler’s app on his phone (but closed), Jon receives a message on his phone as he passes the store’s entrance: “Hi Jon, your wife Suzan has a watch in her wish list. It is available in the Jewelry store you’re walking by.” The message prompts him to slide for more info.

  • When Jon slides for more info, here’s what he sees: A detailed profile of the watch in question, complete with a list of his acquaintances – his wife included – who have this particular item logged on their online wish lists.

  • Eager to surprise his wife with his seeming perspicacity, Jon enters the Jewelry store to make the purchase.



Suzan adds a watch to her wish list,




Jon walks by the retailer’s store.



photo 1

Jon opens the notification.


How does Footmarks do this?

Footmarks brings digital intelligence to physical spaces. We provide the insights and real-time analytics available to online retailers – purchase history, pageviews, path to purchase, abandoned cart items, and more – to brick and mortar retailers to optimize their business.

In the case of Jon, Suzan, and the Jewelry store, Footmarks’ SDK allows a retailer to integrate a consumer’s online behavior with the same consumer’s behavior instore. Social login (Facebook and/or Twitter) to both the retailer’s website and app allows Footmarks to leverage a consumer’s social graph for a more complete consumer profile. This provides the customer with more contextually relevant engagements.

For Jon to receive this particular engagement, Jon’s mobile device’s operating system identifies the Jewelry store’s beacon (most likely installed in the store’s entrance), once within a pre-specified range. Jon doesn’t need to have had the application open – merely humming in the background.

Importantly, when Jon receives this notification, he has the opportunity to rate his experience by clicking on the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” icons that appear on his screen. This evaluation of the experience by the consumer closes an important part of the customer feedback loop, and allows Footmarks and the retailer to optimize their methods of engagement.

photo 5 (8)

2. 10 seconds of fame at a major sports experience store: Building brand loyalty through customer engagement.

  • Casey, an avid skateboarder, uses a major sports retailer’s app to record and archive short video clips of tricks he performs on his board.

  • In need of the latest gear one weekend, Casey heads to the retailer’s experience store with some friends, and up to the third floor, where the skater gear is stocked.

  • As Casey steps off the escalator, he passes a large HD screen. Immediately, his latest recorded video appears on the store’s HD display, showing off his tricks for everyone to see.



Casey walks by the instore display and his skateboard tricks appear onscreen.

How does Footmarks do this?

Footmarks’ beacons can be installed within a store to form any number of “zones” – geofenced areas within which beacons are configured to deliver relevant experiences. In this particular instance, the retailer has configured a beacon nearby their HD display, to pull from the app the user’s recorded video.

Retailers can use beacon-leveraged, real-time and location-aware multi-screen engagements like this one to create unforgettable instore experiences. These types of engagements (and many others) personalize instore brand messaging, making the consumer feel valued by the retailer and helping to foment brand loyalty. Casey leaves the store having purchased an assortment of branded gear, and looks forward to visiting the store again.

 photo 4 (16)

3. Never wait in line for coffee: Harnessing in-app pre-order and mobile payments for an improved instore experience and increased sales.

  • Casey looks forward to his morning cup of coffee, but when he sees big lines at his neighborhood coffee shop, he often heads to the office empty handed.

  • One day Casey learns his favorite coffee chain has integrated pre-ordering into their app, and so, on his way to work, he downloads the app and orders his drink.

  • Once Casey’s a few blocks from the store, the shop’s baristas are alerted to his order through an instore notification system, and start to make his coffee. By the time Casey enters the store, the baristas are putting the finishing touches on his drink, and Casey’s free to grab it and go.



Casey pre-orders his coffee in-app.




The coffee shop’s baristas are notified when Casey’s nearby.


How does Footmarks do this?

Footmarks SDK gets wrapped into a retailer’s pre-existing app, enhancing its functionality with real-time location awareness. In this particular example, Casey passes two key geofenced thresholds, allowing the coffee shop to reap greater workflow efficiencies and improve customer service.

If the average cup of coffee takes roughly 60 seconds to make, the coffee chain needs to know when Casey is roughly 60 seconds away from the store. If 60 seconds approximates a distance of roughly 300 feet, Footmarks configures a long-range beacon to detect a user’s mobile device once he crosses that 300-ft threshold and to immediately notify the baristas inside the store, via their own tablet or digital screen.

With the baristas notified that Casey’s on his way, a second instore beacon confirms his arrival (60 seconds later) at the store. Since Casey has already prepaid for his coffee, all that’s left for him to do is to retrieve it – no more waiting in line to pay, and no more waiting for his drink to be made. Importantly for the retailer, Casey will no longer be forgoing his daily coffee when the line gets too long.

Unlike many beacon engagements already in play, this particular beacon deployment is entirely about improving the customer’s instore experience, all while creating greater operational efficiencies and leveraging increased sales for the retailer.

photo 2 (16)


Footmarks implementation methodology and flexible solutions drive benefits across brands, retailers and venues alike. To learn more about Footmarks and how our experience platform can enhance your physical space, visit for product enhancements, partnership opportunities, or requests for a demo, and join our communities on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.




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