What are beacons, pros & cons and how much do they cost? The truth about beacons | Bleesk (2024)

If you’re not that familiar with beacons, you are probably wondering what they are and why you should use them. Let’s answer the most common questions around beacons.

  • What are beacons?
  • Beacon pricing
  • What are beacons used for?
  • How are they different from Geofencing, NFC, WiFi etc.?
  • Types of beacons
  • What can I track with beacons?
  • Why should I use beacons?
  • What are the benefits?
  • What are the downfalls?
  • How can you get started with beacons?

What are beacons?

Beacon is a small bluetooth device that repeatedly transmits signals that other devices like your smartphone can see. Beacon broadcasts radio signal that is a combination of letters and numbers approximately every 1/10th of a second. All smartphones “see” beacons when they receive a signal, much like sailors see light from a lighthouse.

Beacons deliver campaigns, help navigate and collect customer data. Beacons are one of the best ways to establish connection with your customers in a physical world. They trigger and deliver proximity campaigns to a person's phone based on his/hers location. Beacons also enable to collect important data on customer behaviour and increase their engagement.

What are beacons, pros & cons and how much do they cost? The truth about beacons | Bleesk (1)

Beacons are simple devices. If you open one you will find it consists of three components: a CPU, radio and batteries. Beacons use small lithium batteries or run via connected power like USB. They come in all shapes and colors. Some beacons include accelerometers, temperature sensors or other unique add-ons.

Beacon pricing

There are 3 main factors that influence the end price of beacons:

  • type of beacon and its features (the range, supported protocol, battery life, environmental capabilities (outdoor/indoor)
  • quantity of your order
  • manufacturer (overall product quality)

What are beacons, pros & cons and how much do they cost? The truth about beacons | Bleesk (2)

For a single beacon the average price is around US$25. For quantities over 50-100, you can expect to pay around US$10-15 per beacon.

To choose the right beacon you should first think about the features you want them to support and how many beacons will be enough for your business scenario.

Some of the companies that offers beacons solutions are:

If you want to test beacons, they are usually sold in packs called devkits with 3 devices inside.

What are beacons used for?


Beacons help indicate where you are in a physical space with precision down to a a meter - geofence is much less precise (up to 5 meters) and does not work indoors.


Beacons can trigger various events when used with a smartphone. You enter a room, lights turn on. You enter a shop, coupon is sent to your phone. The event that beacon triggers depends on your business case. Another great example are loyalty programs for customers - beacons help reward customers for purchases or even time spent in a venue.


Beacons are great when it comes to locating people indoors and helping them find a way (locating a person indoors is not possible with traditional geofence technology). What Google Maps does for the outdoors, beacons can do for the indoors. They can tell you where you are and where you’re going in a museum, festival, or train station.

Analysis & Data Collection

With beacon accuracy you can gather more reliable information then from GPS or WiFi signals and learn how and where your customers are moving throughout your shop. Please note that beacons do not collect any data themselves, but with a use of beacons and proximity platforms like Bleesk, you can collect dozens of important metrics about your customers through an app. You can use this data to improve your product listings and in-store layout, refine your customer journey, tailor future marketing campaigns and boost your in-store conversions.

Asset & People Tracking

One of the beacons’ more practical use cases is something many of us would never have guessed. In manufacturing and transport, managers need to know exactly where goods are at any given time. By attaching beacons, they can always have that information.


Whether it’s making sure patients don’t go in the wrong wing or alerting factory workers to dangerous changes, beacons can automatically send notifications (either to app users or property owners) about a safety issue. Beacons can also be paired with geofencing to add an extra layer to data security.

What are beacons, pros & cons and how much do they cost? The truth about beacons | Bleesk (3)

How are they different from Geofencing, NFC, WiFi etc.?

Beacons vs. Geofencing

The main difference between beacons and geofencing is that beacons use Bluetooth to communicate with a smartphone whereas geofencing uses GPS signals. GPS can have a big impact on the battery life of your customer’s mobile device as it requires satellites and cell phone towers in order to pinpoint exact location. Beacons are more precise compared to geofencing and work better indoors. Geofencing does not work indoors and usually works better for proximity marketing outdoor.

# Beacons Geofence
Battery Low consumption Moderate consumption
Range up to 70 meters (230 feet) no limit
Accuracy up to a meter 5 meters (16 feet)
Cost Low Low (no infrastructure)
Best For Indoor Campaigns, Loyalty, Indoor Location, Customer Analytics Outdoor Campaigns, Outdoor Location, Customer Analytics

Beacons vs. WiFi

Beacons and WiFi are similar to each other - beacons and WiFi routers send radio signals that are detected by a mobile device to locate or deliver a proximity campaign. There are however important differences. Beacons are significantly cheaper (from 1.00 USD / piece) than WiFi routers (15.00 USD / piece). On the other hand most venues (shops, offices, malls) already have at least one WiFi router therefore there is no setup cost involved. Because the price of beacon device is low, companies usually use more than one beacon in their venues so they provide a more accurate information of the customer location or deliver precise proximity marketing campaign. WiFi proximity marketing does not offer this kind of precision.

# Beacons WiFi
Battery Low consumption AC (does not work on battery)
Range up to 70 meters (230 feet) up to 100 meters (330 feet)
Accuracy up to a meter 1-5 meters
Cost Low High
Best For Indoor Campaigns, Loyalty, Customer Analytics, Indoor Location Indoor Campaigns, Loyalty, Basic Customer Analytics

Beacons vs. NFC

The main difference between beacons and NFC is that NFC does not require battery to operate. NFC tags are also significantly cheaper than beacon devices but provide limited information about customer behaviour and work only when tapped.

# Beacons NFC
Battery Low consumption No battery
Range up to 70 meters (230 feet) few centimeters
Accuracy up to a meter few centimeters
Cost Low cost Low cost
Best For Indoor Campaigns, Loyalty, Indoor Location, Customer Analytics Loyalty, Delivering information at a tap, Security Checkpoints

Types of beacons

There are multiple types of beacons that work best for specific use case. What you need to remember is that there are two bluetooth protocols that beacons use iBeacon and Eddystone and you should always buy beacons which support both.

What are beacons, pros & cons and how much do they cost? The truth about beacons | Bleesk (4)

  • Standard beacons (they broadcast iBeacon and Eddystone protocols and are the size of golf ball). They are most often used in retail, events and all sorts of navigation use cases.
  • Small beacons (very portable, they have the size of a credit card or a larger sticker). Stickers are most often used in retail - they are attached to products. Beacons that have a size of a credit card are often used for employee tracking purposes.

  • USB beacons (small, portable, quick to deploy). Often used in office environment.
  • Parent beacons (track other beacons, gather data and store it in cloud, and more). Those are also called "gateway" devices. They have the size of a larger smartphone, are usually fixed to a wall or a ceiling and communicate with smaller beacons as well as have WiFi connection for syncing purposes.
  • Special beacons, including devices resistant to exogenous factors (dust, water, shattering, antistatic and UV) and video beacons — USB beacons that are plugged into back of a screen to deliver visual information (for example, a user approaches a screen in a restaurant, and it displays personalised offers).

What can I track with beacons?

Beacons are the most robust tool when it comes to collecting data about customers. Connected with a mobile application they can provide large quantities of data:

  • Number of visitors
  • Number of new visitors
  • Number of returning visitors
  • How many times a campaign has been viewed
  • Conversion
  • Visitor location heatmaps
  • Visitor dwell time
  • Visitor age
  • Visitor gender
  • How visitors move
  • and more...

Why should I use beacons?

There are multiple reasons why beacons have become one of the most popular solutions in proximity marketing. Because so many consumers have smartphones beacons are an excellent opportunity to connect and engage with them whenever they're within range of beacons. Marketers can track the movements of customers within a retail spot, measure how long they stay in a store and send targeted campaigns based on their location. Beacons are similar to the website tracking and analytics tools that companies use to monitor the journey that consumers take to reach a purchasing decision on ecommerce sites. This is one of the big reasons they have such an appeal for marketers.

What are the benefits?

  • Beacons have great price / value factor compared with other technologies.
  • They are easy to use and implement.
  • Beacons have multiple applications (engagement, navigation, analysis, etc.)
  • Enable to understand customers better by collecting customer behaviour data.
  • Enables to retarget customers after they walk away.
  • They work in multiple verticals (retail, education, culture, airports, events, offices, hotels etc.)

What are the downfalls?

People need to install an app to be able to experience proximity marketing with beacons. When beacons are not implemented correctly people can get easily annoyed by receiving too many push notifications and may even stop using the app. Most beacons are battery-powered, which may be a maintenance issue. You can get USB beacons instead but they need to have a power supply.

How can you get started with beacons?

Once you buy a beacon starter pack contact us and we will help you get started.

Related articles

  • 9 Tips to Create a Successful Beacon Campaign
  • 6 must-dos To Increase Customer Engagement
  • WiFi Campaigns
  • What is geofencing? How much does it cost?
What are beacons, pros & cons and how much do they cost? The truth about beacons | Bleesk (2024)


What are the advantages of beacons? ›

Beacons have great price / value factor compared with other technologies. They are easy to use and implement. Beacons have multiple applications (engagement, navigation, analysis, etc.) Enable to understand customers better by collecting customer behaviour data.

What are the disadvantages of beacons? ›

The 6 Disadvantages of Using Beacons for Proximity Marketing
  • Beacons Do Not Work on Their Own. ...
  • Tracking Movement is Not Simple. ...
  • Beacons are Not Cost-Efficient. ...
  • The Matter of Trust and Security Limitations. ...
  • Bluetooth is Not Battery-Friendly. ...
  • Beacons Don't Offer a Lot of Analyzable Data.
Nov 12, 2018

How much does a beacon cost? ›

For a single beacon the average price is US$25. For quantities over 1000, you can expect to pay around US$15-17 per beacon. Please do make sure you buy beacons that are compatible with the multiple beacon protocols (iBeacon, AltBeacon and Eddystone).

What are the benefits of beacon? ›

BLE beacons allow apps to detect users precisely, even in locations with limited internet access such as underground stations. Another advantage when compared to other types of mobile ticketing is that beacons allow for seamless detection, without the user having to use or even touch their smartphone.

Are beacons free to use? ›

While Beacons.ai does have a free plan, they charge a 9% commission fee on digital store transitions and additional fees for adding a custom URL, extra page tabs, and the ability to remove Beacons' branding, all of which is free with Link in Bio.

What is a key downfall of using beacons? ›

One of the main disadvantages of beacon technology is the need for users to have Bluetooth enabled on their devices, which can be a barrier to adoption for some users. Another disadvantage is the potential for privacy concerns, as beacons can collect user data and location information.

How much does a beacon marketing cost? ›

The cost of a beacon(Open Link in new window) is roughly $25, but can be as low as $10 to 15 in volume. Programming, maintenance, and campaign development can increase that expense, but the investment can quickly be covered by increased sales.

How much does beacons take? ›

Forever. On store Free Beacons takes a low 9% transaction fee. As your business scales you can sign up for Store Pro for only $10/month. On Store Pro your monthly fee is the only cost.

Are beacons safe? ›

Risk of unlawful surveillance

The location data submitted by beacons can be used not only by legitimate software applications, but also by malware programs which can provide criminals with information about the location of individuals.

What is beacon price? ›

Price of BECN today

The live price of Beacon is $ 0.004923 per (BECN / USD) with a current market cap of $ 0 USD. 24-hour trading volume is $ 1.835599 USD. BECN to USD price is updated in real-time. Beacon is -23.50% in the last 24 hours with a circulating supply of 0.

How much does it cost to make a full beacon? ›

Required Materials. TIP: You don't need to gather all of the blocks. You need 164 of the mineral blocks and 1 beacon to build the structure. Then you need 1 iron ingot, gold ingot, diamond or emerald to activate the beacon.

How much does a personal locator beacon cost? ›

comparison Table
Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB1$3507 years with 24 hour life
ACR RESQLINK+$4007 years with 24 hour life
ACR Electronics rescueME PLB1$2907 years, 24 hours at -4˚ F
Somewear Global Hotspot$350Up to 240 hours in 10 minute tracking
7 more rows
Apr 30, 2023

Why do we need beacons? ›

Control beacons may be used as a means of controlling traffic at locations where vehicles are required to stop, or take other regulatory action.

What are beacons useful for? ›

They have the benefit of not only acting as location markers that can be spotted from extremely far away, but they also provide a powerful status effect in a specific area. Due to this, beacons are one of the most popular rare blocks in the game, despite how time-consuming it is to get one.

What does a beacon give you? ›

The beacon is one of the most difficult items to make in all of "Minecraft," as it requires at least one incredibly rare material. But once you've made one, the beacon can upgrade your mining, speed, and health stats. They're also a literal beam of guiding light if you're ever lost in your expansive "Minecraft" world.

What are the advantages of beacon lights? ›

Energy Saving

Another benefit of LED beacon lights is they are energy efficient. LED lights are energy-efficient, as they use less power than incandescent bulbs. It leads to significant savings on electricity bills over time. Furthermore, LEDs have a longer lifespan and rarely burn out or need replacement.

How can beacons benefit society? ›

Beacons can play an understated and yet essential role in ensuring workplace safety, especially for construction or transport industries. With Beacons' small size and power-efficiency, they're perfect for real-time tracking of employees, tagging various company assets and monitoring the environment through sensor data.

Why is a beacon important? ›

One of the latest developments in location-based content and technology, beacons are affordable and small wireless transmitters that use Bluetooth Low Energy technology to send signals to other devices nearby. They can connect and transmit data to smart devices while improving location-based searching and interaction.

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