Daniel Acker—Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Brad Tuttle
June 15, 2015

We’ve already seen how beacons and location-based apps are being used at retail stores like Macy’s. Once the app is downloaded, beacons placed in strategic locations inside the store will send alerts to the customer’s smartphone, calling attention to the fact that, say, a certain brand of household appliances is on sale, or a suit is available in 12 other patterns than the one on display. Basically, it’s an added sales pitch but without the need of a human salesman.

Soon, this kind of technology will be popping up in car dealerships. Wards Auto reported that Ford is launching a pilot program that incorporates beacons that will send automated messages to customers’ smartphones based on where they’re located in the dealership. Here are a few examples of how the sales pitches might play out:

A beacon positioned at the front of the car, for example, could point out its advanced LED lighting, while one at the rear might focus on its class-leading cargo-carrying capacity. Another positioned elsewhere on the vehicle could broadcast information on a special rebate or discounted option package.

Beacons could also be positioned throughout the dealership lot, so that customers would receive pitches and extra information even when the dealership is closed. While the program is very much in the early stages, it looks like the messages will only be sent to customers who proactively sign up for an app and welcome the information. The messages are easy enough to delete or ignore too, of course. If only it was this easy to silence an annoying car salesperson.

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