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Gannett marries up shopping app and beacons for in-store engagement

Gannett-owned Key Ring is loading Bluetooth Low Energy into its application to better connect with smartphone-wielding grocery shoppers through hyper-targeted content and deals.

Key Ring is joining inMarket’s Mobile to Mortar platform, which will let the company target shoppers in big box-retail and grocery stores through BLE and geofencing. King Ring claims to be the first utility shopping application to use beacons in-store.

“Right now we’re in the early innings of beacon adoption, and the savviest companies are jumping on board,” said Dave Heinzinger, director of communications at inMarket, Venice, CA.

“Key Ring shoppers are going to get a context-based experience that will be integrated with the tools they love,” he said. “At the same time, Key Ring just created a brand-new opportunity for its advertisers to reach folks at the point-of-purchase.”

Beacon craze
?Key Ring pulls in offers from 160 retailers across more than 2,000 loyalty programs. The app claims to have racked up 50 million loyalty card uploads and also tracks in-store transactions of what shoppers buy.

The idea behind Key Ring adding beacons is that the company will be able to leverage its data on how consumers use the app to trigger an in-store action.

For example, the publisher will be able to send out a push notification to shoppers based on items that they have added to a shopping cart. From there, brands can run interstitial ads that pop up on pages between notifications and the item.

Additionally, beacons and in-store technology will give consumers quicker access to Key Ring shopping lists and other in-app content.

InMarket claims that its Mobile to Mortar platform reaches more than 40 million shoppers.

A beacon-triggered Key Ring push notification

Real-world engagement
Gannett is the second publisher to incorporate inMarket’s platform to make a shopping app more interactive.

Condé Nast Epicurious is also working with inMarket to activate the Epicurious’ Recipes & Shopping List app in-store (see story).

As publishers look for new revenue models off of mobile, partnering with retailers and CPG brands when consumers are glued to their mobile devices is one of the newer marketing opportunities to come out of beacons.

At the same time, brands themselves are also testing out beacons and in-store offers to engage directly with consumers (see story).

“Beacons are being integrated to improve the shopping experience for consumers, while creating more valuable engagements from an advertising perspective,” Mr. Heinzinger said.

“In Condé Nast’s case, Epicurious users love to use the app in-store and shop based on recipes they’ve liked,” he said. “Key Ring shoppers are different — they’re more interested in loyalty rewards and saving money. It’s a great example of how the phone has become a tool for different types of shoppers.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York