Artificial Intelligence Digital Marketing

What is Proximity Marketing & How Can It Be Used?

By Muhammad Hanzla Ijaz

So What is Proximity marketing? Well, It is a marketing technique to target customers at the right time and place, based on their precise location.

It’s important that you should know that it’s not just about marketing. Proximity marketing can also work as a medium for collecting data that helps you understand your customer better, and to know their interests. As we have observed with the passage of time, brands with a strong physical presence, such as stores and shopping malls, restaurants, or hotels, are shifting towards proximity marketing. Proximity marketing is a good opportunity for such outlets to reach their customers. To understand what is proximity marketing

Here’s an example: Let’s suppose you enter a store and get a notification on your mobile with a discount for shopping, or when you scan a QR code at an event to download promotional materials, discount coupons, these are what we call proximity marketing.

Confused between Location-based marketing and Proximity Marketing?

Well, you’re not alone. A lot of people consider these two to be the same thing but there’s a slight difference. Both work by targeting users based on their location as the name suggests, but proximity marketing uses a detailed approach.

Marketers mostly use location-based marketing to target audiences across a wider geographical area. But proximity marketing gives you a slighter advantage as it is more accurate in targeting. Also, it does not require geofence. It uses technology to track users who are near to their location or venue and takes into their previous purchasing habits the time spent in a store.

How does it work?

Now we know what proximity marketing is, the question which remains is how does it work?

Well for that we use a channel of proximity marketing known as beacon marketing based on. The principle is that retailers can use localized wireless technology to distribute advertisements and other brand-related content such as discount codes, coupons or sales offers to customers when they are near to or in their stores. Also, customers must have a relevant mobile application installed on their cell phone which is enabled to receive push notifications.

A beacon uses Bluetooth technology to transmit information to close by mobile devices.

So, when a mobile device comes in proximity range of the beacon, the customer will receive a notification or request asking permission to connect with their mobile device. Finally when they accept that notification or allow permission. They will receive promotional text messages or displayed ads in images or videos related to the product or services of the brand.

By placing beacons around a store, retailers can gather detailed information about customer movements to utilize their in-store experience and create highly personalized marketing campaigns.

What type of technology is used in proximity marketing?

When it comes to proximity marketing there are multiple technologies & methods we can go for. It depends on what suits your business and needs better. Each technology has its pros and cons. The type of technology you go for proximity depends on what your end goal is. If you want to collect customer behavior data then beacons will be a way to go. If you want to target customers outdoors, geofencing makes sense.

But for now, let’s just discuss the popular form of proximity technologies:

1- QR codes

2- WIFI Marketing

3- NFC

4- Geofencing 


6- BLE beacons 

QR codes

So if you’ve never heard of a QR code, chances are that you might be subconsciously familiar with them. QR codes have become an everyday thing. Used by different marketers widely these days and over the last couple of years.

The concept behind a QR code is to create an image that is scannable on a smartphone. QR codes contain web address information and links that redirect the user to a particular website. Nowadays smartphones are capable of scanning QR codes, so for someone running a business who decides to go for QR code service you only need a QR code generator which is easily available on the internet and a printer to set things up. Retail customers can scan the code at your outlet, which redirects users to your website.

See how social media platforms are using QR code.

WIFI Marketing

We live in a generation where almost half of the population are using cell phones and especially talking about the millennials who can’t pass a second without them. So why waste an opportunity like that rather than capitalize on it. Therefore, one of the easiest, yet most unique ways to implement proximity marketing is going for Wifi marketing.

As speaking WiFi marketing is a process in which a retailer provides free WiFi in-store in exchange for customer contact details. Retailers then use this contact information to send out marketing campaigns, like email newsletters and text messages, to these customers. Customers will come across signup forms or pages that are displayed in front of them before they can start browsing the web on your store’s wireless network. Once they provide the details requested and agree to any other terms and conditions, they’ll be able to use the store’s WiFi.

After a successful connection, you can decide which web page loads first on a customer’s device.


NFC stands for “near field communication”. It’s basically a short-range communication technology that works best in a short range of a few centimeters. It’s usually an application that asks the user to purposely touch devices together to engage in contact. NFC technology finds its use in credit card payment transactions. NFC allows mobile payments and sharing between smartphones in close range. There are applications available for NFC tags, which are in cases similar to “QR codes”. Where a user just has to ‘tap’ or ‘touch’ their phones on an assigned NFC tag which will redirect them to a landing page.


Ever wonder why you get a notification whenever you cross a store and get an app notification that says, “Special discounts” or Buy One Get One Free!

Well that’s because of geofencing, it’s basically a location-based service in which an app or software program. Which uses Wifi, GPS, or cellular data to start a targeted marketing activity like text, social media ads, emails. Every time a mobile device enters or leaves a geographical boundary, known as a geofence. Bluetooth, GPS, geotargeting, and geofencing can target a specific customer location.


RFID stands for radio frequency identification. It uses radiofrequency to transmit signals to trigger tags. A trigger sends the waves to the antenna of the RFID device. Afterward, the rays translate to data. Moreover, RFID tags are sort of smart labels that can store a variety of information ranging from serial numbers, pages of data, or even short descriptions. Merchandise in grocery stores, pet accessories, and vehicles have RFID tags for tracking.

BLE beacons

Last but not least comes BLE also known as Bluetooth low energy. BLE functions similar to Wifi access points as its widely accessible technology. BLE beacons use standard protocol and have the ability to work across platforms and devices. You can locate and engage with any customer simply by an application installed on their cell phones. And, besides that, all you have to do is to install BLE beacons at your store or outlet. Here BLE provides you the highest accuracy via proximity detection and doesn’t drain your device battery as it consumes less power.

How Can Brands use Proximity Marketing:

“Get them when they’re closer” through contextual promotions and sales tactics like offering discounts, coupons, vouchers, buy one get one free.

By Retargeting the customers who just came in the store & didn’t buy anything or passed by and window shopped. Which can sometimes result in converting them into potential customers and then into buyers.