Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

House of Fraser’s beacon-enabled mannequins revamp in-store experience

When in-store shoppers download the corresponding mobile application, they will be met with an alert when they are within 50 meters of a beacon-enabled mannequin. The app allows for future referencing, in-store location search, price details and purchasing capabilities through a redirect to the House of Fraser Web site, activating a modern experience for smart phone users wishing to incorporate mobile searches while shopping in-store.

“Beacons have a huge potential to capture a consumer’s attention at the elusive zero moment of truth, which is the exact moment that they make a purchasing decision,” said Matt Witt, executive vice president of digital integration at Tris3ct, Chicago. “Consumers are already using their mobile devices to showroom and discover more information for a product, often to check out competitive retailers’ prices.

“Beacon technology, when used appropriately, can leverage this existing behavior in a way that makes it positive for retailers by providing meaningful value to consumers as they shop. For example, imagine a busy mom shopping for groceries on her way home from work.

“We know from research that moms need quick and easy meals for weeknight family dinners. If a CPG food brand served information via iBeacons to aid her with a solution that includes recipes, an easy shopping list, even a possible coupon for the relevant food ingredients, the brand could help drive sales by solving her mealtime dilemma.”

Mr. Witt is not affiliated with House of Fraser but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Behind the body
As mannequins usually showcase the brand or retailer’s best or newest products, shoppers can use the beacon-enabled mannequins for quick access to these products. Shoppers often look to mannequins for outfit ideas, but it is often common that those products are not easily accessible within the store.

Using the app, shoppers can look up price details and in-store location of products to be directed to the rack where the item is located.

Furthermore, the app can redirect the user to the House of Fraser Web site for items to be purchased. Users will then be met with rewards and offers.

The app, built by technology company Iconeme, also encourages users to share their favorite products on social media sites.

Retailers can also use this tool to see which products shoppers are viewing and saving and who its shoppers are.

Beacons in retail
In July, Lord & Taylor began partnering with brands such as Michael Kors and Alex and Ani to deliver content and offers to in-store shoppers via iBeacon technology on their smartphones when they are nearby different departments.

The multi-category, multi-floor beacon deployment represents the most ambitious application of beacon marketing in the retail industry to date, according to Swirl, which is providing the marketing platform upon which the program is built. The program enables the retailer to connect with users of mobile coupon application SnipSnap when they are inside five Lord & Taylor stores (see story).

Apparel brand Levi Strauss and Co.’s Live in Levi’s brand reintroduction campaign has combined its efforts with the use of iBeacon-enabled billboards, prompting customers with an offer and driving them into nearby stores.

IBeacons have been more prevalently used as a method of targeted and relative advertising, catching the shopper at just the right time while they are near a store. The Live in Levi’s campaign is a well-rounded attempt to attract consumers in multiple ways through iBeacons, user-generated content and social implications (see story).

As beacons have proven to be a resourceful option driving more engaged in-store experiences, their potential continues to grow. With its timely and location-based capabilities, beacons contain the aptitude to appeal even further.

“Brands and retailers could conceivably use a limited physical retail experience to actually encourage show rooming and drive sales relevant to the location, weather or a number of other factors,” Mr. Witt said. “IBeacons send a static data signal, but that can be interpreted through various algorithmic filters, such as the day of the week or the temperature.

“That would allow a small retail space to ostensibly sell a range of products far greater in breadth than any shelf could ever hold in the physical world and to make the recommended products at any time adhere to what is relevant to the consumer in that moment. IBeacons could then pave the way for a retail experience where consumers browsing a virtual product line with their own device, then select merchandise, pay, and have it shipped without ever having to step up to a register.”

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Commerce Daily, New York