27 Retail Companies Nailing it with their Proximity Marketing Campaigns
February 11, 2016
Last Updated: 1st June 2018
Unacast’s latest Q4 Proxbook report confirms that beacon deployments are on track and the numbers align with ABI Research’s forecast of 400 million beacons to be deployed by 2020. Last year, we saw big brands undertaking large-scale beacon deployments. And, this year started with Rite Aid’s announcement of initiating the largest beacon-deployment in a retail setting till date.
Proximity marketing examples: Some of the top retailers
Quick service restaurants and food brands leveraging beacons
Image source: bluewater.co.uk Eat, the food-to-go chain joined hands with Weve’s beacon-enabled consumer loyalty app, Pouch, designed to store a retailer’s loyalty cards and push out offers to customers. This partnership came in as an effort to overhaul the in-store and online experience. Eat touted this move as a “strategic pillar” in its communications because it allowed the company to access more information about customer behaviour and drive business intelligence to make precise decisions about how consumer behaviour can be influenced.
McDonald’s sought to enhance personal relationships with customers as well as promote a new line of coffee-flavoured beverages by leveraging a new proximity marketing strategy via beacons at its 15 cafés in Istanbul. As a part of this program, the chain tapped a popular Turkish loyalty app called Shopping Genie, to target customers while they were around the premises of a local McD Café. Customers got mobile coupons, via the app, which prompted them to purchase a coffee and receive a beverage from the new drink line for free. This proximity marketing campaign via beacons helped McDonald’s achieve 20% conversion rate with 30% of users who received the promotion.
3) Red Bull
Red Bull rolled out beacon campaigns at 1400 Macs/Couche-Tard convenience stores in Canada. Digital signage, one 32 inch screen and two 17 inch screens were used within the store to inform users about the offers by Red Bull. Bluetooth beacons were deployed at the point of purchase, where customers were waiting in line to pay or just moving around.
These beacon notifications offered two Red Bull cans for $4! Apart from making a profit out of campaigns, Red Bull also monitored the entire campaign in real-time and captured customer behaviour.
Hypermarkets and shopping malls retailers using beacon technology
Image source: forbes.com Walmart launched a unique iBeacon trial in partnership with GE. The retail giant used GE light bulbs to house beacons and send push notifications of specials and discount coupons to in-store customers. These beacon-equipped LED bulbs can track shoppers within a store by using the beacons hidden inside them. This eliminated the need for such stores to buy separate beacon-related hardware.
Carrefour has extensive iBeacon networks in all 28 of its hypermarkets in Romania through which the retail chain offers its consumers a simple, intuitive, and fun app for orientation inside hypermarkets from area to area. The retailer’s beacon-enabled app automates the commercial content delivery and collects essential data about in-store consumer behaviour. Its proximity marketing campaign keeps consumers informed about the products, services, and actual special offers from each of the store departments. With beacons, Carrefour has seen an astounding rise in its application’s engagement rate which went up by 400% and the number of app users which grew by 600 percent in seven months.
Popular convenience store group Nisa piloted iBeacon technology to track its shoppers by attaching Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons to trolleys and baskets. To track a shopper’s journey around the store, beacons on the shopping trolleys and baskets worked in conjunction with sensors attached to the ceiling of the store. These sensors picked up the signals emitted by beacons and collected location data which was then fed to a cloud-based server for analysis. Retail companies can thus use beacons to get data such as overall time spent in the store and the dwell time at particular product aisles.
Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield, UK, used iBeacon technology to gamify the Ladies’ Night event with brands providing offers, discounts, freebies, and prize giveaways. Many retailers such as Hotel Chocolat, Krispy Kreme, Cath Kidston, and House of Fraser, participated in the event. Customers had to download Meadowhall’s beacon-enabled app to receive a notification on their smartphone whenever they came into range of a beacon. The event was highly successful as it saw more than 500 app downloads within the first three hours, with over 500 offers redeemed. All 120 hotspot offers were redeemed within the first 52 minutes of the event. Meadowhall also won the Purple Apple Merit Award for strategic marketing for using ‘groundbreaking’ mobile phone beacons.
8) Best Buy
Best Buy implemented a beacon strategy to help boost sales and improve personalisation of experience. The retail giant chose to use their own application as well as Shopkick retailing app to offer rewards to shoppers, simply for stepping foot in the door. There wasn’t much in-store promotion of products using beacons.
Hammerson rolled out beacons across their shopping centres to improve personalisation of consumers’ shopping experience. Their beacon-enabled Plus app was initially trialled at Les Terrasses du Port in Marseille and it ranked among the top 10 lifestyle apps in France. Presently, over 80,000 customers have downloaded the Plus app already and Hammerson has over 6,000 beacons situated throughout its shopping centres in the UK and France. The retail centre insists on using the technology to send personalised offers to customers in specific locations at the centre and also to understand how customers are moving around the centres.
Supermarket giant Woolworths successfully completed a beacon trial with one store using iBeacon technology to improve customer service around click-and-collect. Thereafter, the chain announced that they are looking to roll out beacons across all of its 254 click-and-collect stores with the aim of allowing consumers to place their order online and pick them up in-store. For instance, when a click-and-collect consumer comes within a certain radius of the store, a notification is sent to Woolworths’ picking systems. This notification prompts the staff to start assembling the order. Certain triggers at different stages of the fulfilment process then prompt a push notification via the app to the consumer, notifying them that their order is ready.
UK supermarket Waitrose started using iBeacon technology at its relatively new experimental Swindon store to deliver price promotions to consumers when they were near a particular aisle or food counter. The beacon-enabled Waitrose app also allows a consumer to scan barcodes, read customer reviews of products, add items to a virtual shopping basket, and pay via a mobile wallet. The app also allows a consumer to call for assistance. A member of the staff receives the request informing them that a customer is waiting for help. The staff member also receives information about the customer and his/her previous shopping history which helps them get a better idea of how they should approach the customer.
UK supermarket giant Tesco launched its “biggest trial” of iBeacon technology, in partnership with consumer goods company Unilever, by deploying beacons in 270 stores across London. They launched the ‘Mpulse app’ as a part of the Pink and Black marketing campaign. Once this app was downloaded, consumers received exclusive coupons for discounted Pink and Black Magnums directly to their phone when they passed by installed beacons in 270 Tesco Express stores.
13) Oscar Mayer
While most retailers were undertaking large-scale beacon deployments, Oscar Mayer worked out an interesting deal with the supermarkets which would allow them to place beacons at the deli counter. This location helps them convince shoppers to buy the specials of the week while waiting at the counter.
14) Amazon Go store
Amazon, the retail giant started a new convenience store in Seattle, U.S. in Jan 2018. Amazon Go is an 1800 sq feet mini market filled with food and technology. They have deployed an array of cameras, beacons and other proximity sensors to make the store one-of-a-kind. The USP of the store lies in the fact that there are no checkout lines. Beacons are used all over the store to monitor the commodities picked up and enhance the customer engagement.
These stores have set the new gold standard for retailer across the world. Nike and Walmart are revamping their store strategies to match the new Go stores!
World-famous brands such as Hamleys, Armani, Longchamp, and Hackett form the 80% of the retail companies that have deployed beacons in their Regent Street stores with the aim of pushing exclusive and personalised marketing messages to customers via iBeacon technology. Shoppers receive alerts and tailored content about everything, from new in-store promotions to exclusive offers only available for visitors to Regent Street, as they pass. The app also allows shoppers to input their preferences whilst maintaining their anonymity. These brands can now build a detailed profile of the shoppers who redeem online special offers, respond to mobile advertising, and eventually enter the physical stores.
16) Neiman Marcus
Neiman Marcus, the high-end retail chain, piloted beacons at three stores—Austin, TX, Walnut Creek, CA, and San Antonio. Their focus was on promoting in-store events such as trunk shows, guest designers, book signings and so on. The notifications would give out the time of the event and directions to the event happening on the day when a consumer is present at the store.
Bluetooth beacon implementation in pharmacy stores
17) Rite Aid
Rite Aid has installed beacons in over 4,500 US stores for retargeting and personalization of user experience. This large-scale beacon deployment by the Pharmacy chain is the largest beacon installation program in a retail setting till date. In fact, it has even surpassed the one undertaken by the famous Macy’s. Rite Aid plans to employ these beacons to focus on the creation of a digital infrastructure base that will enable the drug-store chain to link its stores to the Internet of Things (IoT), a collection of beacon-level proximity data to strategize their retargeting plan and achieve personalization capabilities similar to those that have been used in e-commerce.
Walgreens has innovated considerably in the mobile retail space by using iBeacon and other technologies at over 7000 locations. Duane Reade, the largest drugstore chain in New York City, owned by Walgreens, leveraged iBeacon technology at ten of its stores to boost its loyalty program. Walgreens implemented beacons in its stores to alert passersby of offers and in-store coupons. They also did something more on the notifications front in the form of alerts as to what a user can do with the application, for example printing Instagram photos directly from the app or filling prescriptions automatically.
Merchandise stores leveraging Bluetooth beacons for proximity marketing
Target, the second largest general merchandise retailer in the US, announced that it will start testing beacon technology in 50 of its stores nationwide. The company plans to limit the number of beacon notifications to two push notifications per shopping trip, so as not to overwhelm customers with alerts. The recommendations may appear both as push alerts and in-app updates on the Target app’s “Target Run” page, which is designed like a social media news feed offering deals, top-pinned items on Pinterest, and more. Target is initially testing the technology in 50 stores, in Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver, Portland, New York City, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Seattle.
Nordstrom, a retailer based in Seattle, is using beacons to bridge the gap between online shopping and in-store experience. Their beacon-enabled app notifies consumers if any item in their mobile shopping bag is in stock, as they pass by the store which has a beacon installed at its entrance. This helps Nordstrom provide an enriching online-to-offline shopping experience to its consumers.
21) Lord & Taylor
Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), which owns Lord & Taylor, has rolled out beacons at 50 Lord & Taylor stores in the United States and 90 Hudson’s Bay locations. The store has deployed beacons with individualized campaigns for each department, which makes the customer experience interesting and focussed. In certain departments, customers receive a coupon offering up to 70% off certain items with a specific “reveal code,” which can be used to track beacon effectiveness.
Following a round of successful beacon trials in New York and San Francisco, Macy’s expanded its beacon program to all stores nationwide, by installing more than 4,000 beacons. This step was a part of the retailer’s efforts to make bigger investments in omnichannel retail technologies. This Thanksgiving, Macy’s also used a beacon-triggered mobile app game at its 700 stores, to engage shoppers. Shoppers received push notifications triggered by their proximity to beacons placed throughout the stores. These notifications encouraged them to participate in an engaging digital experience with a chance to instantly win $1 million Macy’s gift codes and other prizes.
Urban Outfitters announced that they will be rolling out beacons at 15 of their stores located in Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Atlanta, New Jersey, and Delaware, more than a year ago. The US multichannel fashion and homewares retailer decided to take a different route unlike the conventional route of using aggressive promotions. They used their own app with the beacons plugged into the Urban On loyalty program, a section in the app that gives shoppers rewards and access to events. Also, their major focus was on using beacons in three in-store areas – the checkout line, fitting rooms and the entrance.
24) Kenneth Cole
Kenneth Cole is using beacons to create more compelling, personalized customer experiences with an aim to “provide value and offer at the time of need when customers are in the store”. The retailer saw a significant lift in app open rates and offer redemption rates after leveraging iBeacon technology.
25) American Eagle Outfitters
Image source: internetpost.net American Eagle Outfitters (AEO), in a partnership with Shopkick, launched beacon networks in more than 100 of its top-performing stores located in states such as Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York, and San Francisco. The idea was to implement iBeacon technology at the stores with highest traffic levels and best traction with Shopkick.
Retail stores at gas stations deploying Bluetooth beacons
GasBuddy, a company that provides retail gas-price information via its website and app, recently revamped its service to allow gasoline retailers and consumer product brands to push promotional offers to customers at fuel pumps. For this purpose, it has decided to distribute free BLE beacons to about 150,000 gas-station convenience stores in the United States and Canada. This would provide brands and stores with valuable behavioural data useful for business analysis. For example, the collected data can help determine the preferred brands at a given store.
Retailers at jewellery stores making use of beacon technology
27) Alex and Ani
Image source: alexandani.com
Alex and Ani used beacons in all of its 40 stores to optimize store layouts and product placement. Contrary to popular belief that beacons are only for ‘pushing’ ads, the popular Rhode Island-based jewellery brand used beacons differently in its trial period without using them to promote flash sales and other discount promotions. It instead used beacons to educate consumers about its jewellery. 30% of the customers who saw the notifications, visited the store. The brand’s focus was primarily to capture analytics and enhance store layouts for better business.
If you know of any other interesting proximity marketing campaign in retail that we might have missed, please share it in the comments below!
If you are planning a beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!