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Top 10 Q1 mobile-offline activations

Sephora, Target and JCPenney are leading the pack in driving consumers’ mobile activations in-store, proving that mobile can effectively bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds to drive sales and ramp up awareness of products and services.

As mobile continues to grow, more retailers, QSR brands and hospitality marketers are searching for ways to tap on-the-go consumers and entice them to visit bricks-and-mortar locations. Leveraging in-store activations via beacons, SMS, coupons and exclusive mobile applications are just some of the ways that brands have been using mobile to drive in-store sales.

The popularity of beacons will likely continue to gain traction in the second and third quarters this year, as retailers ramp up personalized deals and offerings to consumers passing by. Additionally, strategies such as wireless charging stations and partnerships with shopping apps are enticing customers to leave online shopping behind and venture to in-store locations.

Here are the top 10 mobile in-store activations of the first quarter of 2015, in alphabetical order.

Brown-Forman leverages mobile to connect content, retail experiences
Brown-Forman, the parent company of Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey, Southern Comfort and Finlandia vodka, rolled out a campaign that tapped mobile app Foursquare to serve users advertisements for el Jimador tequila in response to mobile searches for bars or taverns to watch a sporting event.

Once consumers selected a location, Foursquare pushed ads for Jack Daniels beverages to patrons as a reminder to consume bourbon while watching the games.

The campaign used Foursquare’s strength as a search and discovery tool for nearby places and restaurants, in addition to the personalized native experiences available in its mobile app.

Including a location-based ad for the beverage brand aided in enhancing the experience of consumers selecting which tavern to visit, in line with Foursquare’s goal of offering highly targeted recommendations of best places to go.

Buffalo Wild Wings leverages social to drive March Madness conversations
In an effort to become the official hangout spot for NCAA March Madness fans, Buffalo Wild Wings used social media and a designated hashtag, #WingsWisdom, to fuel consumers to visit its restaurants with friends and family to watch the college basketball tournament’s games.

Sports fans that visited Buffalo Wild Wings locations, thanks to invitations from social media, were then able to test their knowledge of NCAA basketball.

The wings restaurant is planning to conduct a tour with the Division I Men’s Championship trophy during the Final Four and enable patrons to snap photos with it to share on social, with ticket giveaways available at participating locations.

The brand also leveraged TV and digital advertising spots to fuel consumers to watch the games in-restaurant.

Jack in the Box turns live event into mobile coupon for enduring power
Hamburger chain Jack in the Box recently turned a live event into a social media frenzy surrounding the world’s largest coupon, which was available for mobile users. The brand won the Guinness World Record for its giant coupon, displaying it publicly in Los Angeles and asking passersby to take a photo of it with their smartphones and then redeem the offer at any Jack in the Box across the nation.

The promotion enabled guests to purchase one new Buttery Jacks burger and receive the other for free. It quickly caught fire on social media, thanks to the trending #WorldsLargestCoupon hashtag and the support of several celebrities and social influencers.

Consumers could only redeem the coupon if shown to a cashier on their mobile device.

Jack in the Box was able to drum up interest for its newest product, as well as ensure that in-store traffic would increase at all of its restaurants nationwide.

JCPenney finds in-store mobile is right fit for Cinderella promotion
Consumers in JCPenney stores with a Disney shop were encouraged to enter sweepstakes and earn rewards by using the shopkick app on their mobile devices to scan bar codes visible on glass slipper signs throughout the stores, in celebration of Disney’s recently-released live-action Cinderella movie.

Shoppers who used the app to scan the bar codes received 25 kicks per scan. Consumers who managed to scan all four glass slipper signs received 50 bonus kicks, which are the rewards currency shopkick uses.

Mobile users were also automatically entered into a sweepstakes for JCPenney gift cards, offering them the opportunity to purchase their own Cinderella-inspired looks.

The promotion was able to drive excitement among in-store shoppers, as well as raise awareness of the Disney shops in JCPenney stores.

McDonald’s borrows from Starbucks playbook with in-store wireless charging
McDonald’s restaurants in Britain leveraged wireless charging stations to entice mobile users to stop in in a bid to raise flagging sales.

McDonald’s hoped that advertising free charging would not only fuel more consumers to visit bricks-and-mortar restaurants, but also keep them there for longer. After completing a successful pilot in several of its Britain facilities, the chain teamed up with wireless charging solution Aircharge to place 600 chargers in more than 50 restaurants.

Smartphones do need support the Qi platform to be charged, but more than 70 mobile device models are equipped to do so.

McDonald’s also did not disclose which specific locations offered wireless charging, so that customer traffic will increase across the nation, regardless of location.

Perrier holds mobile party to reach millennials online, in stores
Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water partnered with Blippar, Tumblr and Ibotta to integrate branded content with mobile in-store activations.

Shoppers using the Ibotta mobile app while in a supermarket were able to play branded games before redeeming rewards, as rebates at Stop and Shop.

The Ibotta app asks users to learn about a product, watch a video, take a survey or engage in another branded activity to receive promotions such as discounts, making it an optimal tool for food and beverage marketers to leverage to reach in-store shoppers.

Consumers were also be able to join in on the campaign via the hashtag #DistrictPerrier.

Target tests mobile loyalty app to drive in-store purchases
Target ramped up on in-store engagement by rolling out a new loyalty platform, Redperks, that enables users to earn rewards points each time they scan a bar code with the mobile app during checkout.

The app is currently available for consumers in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina and functions by invitation only. Users may earn 10 points for each dollar spent before the app rewards them with a 5 percent off discount of the price of a purchase once they reach the 5,000 points milestone.

The 5 percent off discount can then be stacked on top of the 5 percent off members who have a RedCard receive, as well as many other coupons.

Target is also planning to test other bonus promotions and surprise perks via Redperk, to see how consumers respond. The Redperk app also makes it easy for the retailer to track which purchases users tend to gravitate towards.

Sephora’s commitment to digital beauty leadership includes beacons, augmented reality
Makeup retailer Sephora introduced in-store beacons to augment the shopping experience and offer guests suggestions on what products they should purchase, as well as send birthday alerts and loyalty program updates to its Sephora Beauty Insider members.

Guests will now receive alerts showcasing their current number of rewards points, which may be redeemed in-store for beauty treats and sample products.

Sephora is also launching its augmented reality app in April, which enables consumers to hover their smartphones over select brand founder faces in-store, such as Kat Von D and Laura Mercier, to view content options such as product videos, founder interviews, animated GIFs and YouTube playlists.

Products will also be linked back to their pages, so that consumers can purchase them easily while still in the app.

Reese’s scores with bracket-themed social promotion tied to mobile coupon
The Hershey’s Company’s Reese’s brand drove users to stores carrying its candy products by leveraging a March Madness-themed promotion in which consumers were asked to fill out a bracket of their favorite Reese’s products on Facebook in exchange for a coupon.

The coupon was redeemable for one Reese’s item, up to a $2 value.

This was an optimal strategy of driving fans’ anticipation for the Final Four basketball games, and also offering them a treat to snack on during the excitement.

The brand also posted GIFs, sports-related images such as its popular Reese’s Cups dressed in frosted jerseys and Easter-themed recipes and craft ideas including instructions on how to make “Sunday best” hats with miniature Reese’s cups to drive customers in-store to purchase the goodies ahead of games.

Viggle leverages beacons to feed mobile consumers’ content craving
A partnership between entertainment rewards platform Viggle and beacon platform inMarket informed shoppers at many retail locations throughout the nation when they were in the vicinity of relevant deals while highlighting the value of beacons in bolstering consumer engagement through micro-targeting.

InMarket was able to send special offers to Viggle users that opted-in, based on their location and their activities.

The platform was able to send deals from well-known retailers such as Best Buy, Gap and Foot Locker.

InMarket found that in-store app usage was 16.5 times greater for customers who were recipients of a beacon message, while those who received a beacon offer were 6.4 times more likely to keep a mobile app on their phone, versus those who did not.

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York