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Lord & Taylor expands iBeacon program to all US stores

Following a successful pilot of iBeacon technology, Hudson’s Bay Co. will be rolling out the program to 50 Lord & Taylor stores in the United States and 90 Hudson’s Bay locations in Canada by the end of the month.

Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay rolled out iBeacons to 10 stores this summer to engage shoppers with content and offers on a hyper-local basis and with results to date exceeding expectations, the retailer is looking to bring the program to more stores before the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear.  The move follows Macy’s expansion of its beacon-enabled program with shopkick in September and Urban Outfitters’ recent launch into beacon marketing.

“The results were so good on the pilot program that Hudson’s Bay will expand it to 50 stores in the United States and 90 in Canada by end of this month,” said Ryan Craver, the former  senior vice president of corporate strategy at Hudson Bay Co. who spearheaded development of the program.

Limited engagement
Hudson’s Bay works with mobile marketing platform Swirl to leverage beacons to deliver messages to users of several third-party apps such as SnipSnap when they are inside a store.

The beacon messages being delivered include style tips, exclusive content and unique coupons.

The retailer will build between six and eight beacon experiences per store.

However, in order not to overwhelm shoppers with too many interruptions, it will limit the number of per-store engagements to three for each shopper.

Brand tie-ins
The retailer will continue to build beacon engagements that focus on editorial content, promotional content and brand tie-ins.

For example, this summer, Lord & Taylor partnered 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 were nearby related departments (see story).


One of Macy’s beacon messages via shopkick

Currently, the Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay beacon experiences are being delivered through five different third-party apps that span couponing, lifestyle and media topics. The apps have between three and 70 million downloads.

Next year, the retailer plans to integrate with three additional apps that each have 50-million-plus downloads. With significantly wider reach than the current apps, this will enable the retailer to get its beacon messages in front of more shoppers.

The right experience
Hudson’s Bay has been actively embracing mobile technology in 2014 and hopes to keep the momentum going in the new year.

This spring, Lord & Taylor used the SnipSnap app to deliver a mystery coupon that was delivered to nearby shoppers and did not reveal a discount amount until recipients were inside the store (see story).

In March, Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay started accepting bitcoin payments through the mobile application Pounce, enabling customers to purchase directly from a print ad (see story).

The company is among a growing group of retailers that also includes Macy’s and Walgreens who are embracing beacon technology to enhance the in-store experience via mobile.

Getting beacons right requires delivering a compelling experience for shoppers and getting it in front of enough shoppers, per Mr. Craver.

“It is about the experience, brands, content and building that into the DNA,” Mr. Craver said.

“Right now, we are in the gift registry and SnipSnap apps – those are small apps,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York