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Beacon-based rewards entice holiday shoppers in Atlanta suburb

The city of Alpharetta, an Atlanta suburb, is leveraging mobile application Rately in its execution of beacon technology in numerous local retailers to promote and reward holiday shoppers.

So far, 80 percent of retailers located in downtown Alpharetta have joined the program, amounting to more than 30 participants. In an effort to modernize its community, one of the downtown businesses approached its local government with an introduction to beacons, which prompted the launch of the program.

“Alpharetta, being the technology city of the south, means that we are constantly looking for new innovative ways, large or small, to utilize technology in the city to better the quality of life for our residents and support out local businesses,” said Peter Tokar III, the economic development director for the city of Alpharetta, GA. “One of our downtown Alpharetta businesses Digital Scientists brought to our attention this new technology and the opportunity it gave us to promote local businesses, so we jumped at it.

“The iBeacons are right for Alpharetta because we will always strive to be the first to utilize new technologies to advance our community,” he said.

Call for return
Once the Rately app has been downloaded, users can actively start shopping in the Alpharetta area, and the app will credit users for each visit they make to participating stores.

Rewards offered range from a free cup of coffee from coffee shop Mugs on Milton or a chance to win a Yeti cooler from sporting goods retailer Alpharetta Outfitters.

On or the Rately app, users can view all participating merchants and the rewards offered through the program. There is a range of restaurants, bakeries, delis, nail salons and boutiques participating.

The Rately app, free for download on iOS and Android devices, allows shoppers to get rewards from the stores they visit without having to check in upon arrival. Through beacon technology, the app recognizes when smartphone users are in a store.

Users can also use the app to keep track of items they saw and liked in stores and can tag and label those items for projects. Every time users visit an item, they can seek relevant ideas across all participating and nearby stores.

Users do not need to provide an email address or social network login to use the app.

Beacons: Hot in Georgia
A handful of merchants located in Atlanta’s Midtown district are also participating in a new beacon-based mobile rewards and payments program to meet the needs of the neighborhood’s young, tech-savvy residents.

Sionic Mobile is powering the launch of Midtown Loyal. By leveraging Sionic Mobile’s Ion Loyalty and Rewards apps, Midtown Loyal merchants can create their own promotions, reward customers and accept mobile payments (see story).

Alpharetta’s use of beacons aims to generate the local economy in a way that serves a technologically advanced audience.

“The hope for the iBeacon deployment is that it draws more customers to local Alpharetta businesses,” Mr. Tokar said. “Supporting our local retailers is a priority for the city.

“Small business is the backbone for every economic ecosystem,” he said. “The more ways we can support our ecosystem the stronger our community becomes.

“We are running the beta program in our downtown retail district, but we will be expanding the program to additional retail districts as the program grows.”

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York