Smartphones and mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular among consumers around the world, with approximately three-quarters of Australian adults owning a mobile phone.

With such significant market penetration, retailers in Australia have a unique opportunity to advertise to and attract the connected consumer. A recent survey from consumer technology analyst eDigitalResearch found almost half (45 per cent) of all smartphone owners would be happy to receive directed retail marketing on their device.

While personalised emails and text alerts have been in circulation for years, a popular new technology is making it possible for retailers to send location-based, direct messages to an individual’s smartphone via an app.

Beacon – a Bluetooth-based technology – was released by Apple last year, opening up the potential for retailers to connect with consumers as they wander past a store or visit a shopping centre.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 77 per cent of consumers expressed they would be most happy to share their location with retailers in order to receive discount codes, special offers and promotions to their phone. Additionally, 33 per cent agreed that any personalised message sent to their phone would ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ influence their purchase decisions.

“Apple subtly introduced [Beacon] technology into the market at the end of 2013. As retailers and brands get to grips with what it is and how it works, consumer opinion demonstrates that it could potentially revolutionise the in-store and high street shopping experience,” eDigitalResearch Commercial Director Derek Eccleston explained.

Because a significant amount of consumers are already using their phones while out shopping, sending these individuals a personalised message could encourage them to make an unplanned visit into your store. This has the potential to increase impulse sales and boost consumer loyalty.

Beacon marketing company Swirl researched smartphone habits among consumers around the globe. IT found that the majority of customers (85 per cent) admit to using their mobile phone in a store in order to research better deals, search for coupons or make a purchase when stock isn’t available in store.

Using this information, retailers in Australia could benefit from the ability to send personalised messages to consumers in the area, influencing their decision about when and where to make their purchases.