Facebook Expands Place Tips with Free Bluetooth Beacons for Biz

Smartphones have become almost as essential to spending money as greenbacks. Now Facebook wants to make the process of shopping and dining as simple as possible.

Following up on its test run of Place Tips, an optional Facebook feature that helps people learn about and connect with the businesses they visit, the company is offering businesses free Bluetooth beacons to draw in customers.

Facebook said that since it started testing Place Tips, participating local businesses have realized a steady rise in page traffic from in-store visitors. On Tuesday Facebook shared details about how more businesses can get started with the program.

No Store App Needed

Beacons have become a more frequently used tool for location-based marketing efforts, but previously they have required shoppers to actively use a company's mobile app to facilitate communication between shopper and merchant. Because virtually all smartphone users have the Facebook app installed on their devices, they would not have to download the apps of individual businesses.

The beacons supplied by Facebook use Bluetooth to send signals to the Facebook app on customersEU phones to show them the right Place Tips at the right businesses. While any company can request a Bluetooth beacon, Facebook is giving priority to businesses that have active Facebook pages full of content such as photos, check-ins and status updates -- ideally from both the business and its customers.

Place Tips gathers information about a business or landmark, such as posts from a businessEU Facebook page, upcoming events, and friendsEU recommendations and check-ins, and displays that information at the top of a Facebook news feed to in-store visitors.

Each user's Place Tips are tailored toward that person's interests. At a restaurant, Place Tips can display the menu, reviews and frequently mentioned information about the establishment, such as a signature cocktail or popular table. Place Tips for a retail...

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