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

Magnum kicks off summer with beacon-enabled deals for Tesco shoppers

Unilever’s Magnum brand is celebrating the start of summer, a high-selling season for the ice cream brand, by teaming up with grocery chain Tesco to bring beacon-enabled offers and discounts to shoppers via mobile.

Fans who have downloaded Magnum’s pulse application will be able to walk around Tesco stores and receive exclusive discounts and offers triggered by beacons in their vicinity, according to published reports. The technology is rolling out to Tesco Express storefronts first, proving that shoppers are hungry for mobile coupons in grocery stores, particularly when the discounted product is timed well with its optimal season for consumption.

“We’ve moved from the testing stage to the implementation phase with beacons because retailers and brands have seen positive response from consumers,” said Jeff Hasen, founder of Gotta Mobilize, Seattle, WA. “Sales have increased, consumers have engaged, and increased traffic has been seen.

“Beacons are only part of the solution. Wi-Fi is another key element since consumers can be reached even if they haven’t downloaded a particular app.”

Largest beacon pilot
The technology will be introduced to 270 Tesco stores, in partnership with Unilever and beacon platform Urban Airship. Users of the Mpulse app will receive targeted deals for Magnum’s Black and Pink products, which feature ice cream bars coated in the brand’s chocolate with black coffee sauce and raspberry sauce, respectively.

From now through the end of June, shoppers will be guided by push notifications sent to their smartphones with special deals, a tactic that will likely help fuel impulse purchases of the ice cream and potentially transform consumers into Magnum fans if they were not previously familiar with the brand.

“IBeacons used in conjunction with mobile push notifications are becoming an increasing popular way to deliver targeted product marketing to loyal customers,” said Erik Burckart, chief technology officer at PointSource, Raleigh, NC. “The inclusion of beacons in retail space make the consumer experience more contextual.

“Data suggests that contextual engagement results in increased customer engagement, larger shopping baskets and higher customer lifetime value.”

To receive the deals, consumers must download the Mpulse app for Android or iPhone devices.

Beacons are perhaps best-suited to retailers in a supermarket setting, as consumers are frequently pulling out their smartphones to search for last-minute deals and discounts.

Fellow multinational retailer Carrefour recently saw a 400 percent increase in mobile app engagement, thanks to beacons technology (see story).

Beacons enable stores to grab valuable consumer data from smartphone usage, such as amount of use for the mobile coupons, as well as further customer loyalty and ensure that people keep returning to the store for additional deals.

“For instance, a company in Seattle called Vehicle is working with retailers and brands to keep them informed when loyal customers arrive on property, how long they stay, where they go, and even how much they spend,” Mr. Hasen said. “Retailers can push personalized video, coupons and other rich media directly to a consumer’s text inbox from a variety of triggers, including specific locations on property and purchase behaviors and history.”

Magnum’s mobile focus
Leveraging mobile is a smart move for an ice cream brand, as many consumers look at frozen treats as an impulse purchase when out and about, or seeking a cool-down from the summer heat. Magnum in particular is aiming to target younger demographics with its digital strategies.

“An app that uses contextual data like temperature, time and climate to shape the volume of push notifications at each retail location will speak to customer when they are most likely to consume ice cream,” Mr. Burckart said. “Leveraging special offers will influence passers-by to try the ice cream and turn repeat purchases.”

Mpulse users in London can spontaneously create a “Magnum meet-up” by finding the location of a nearby Magnum retailer and inviting friends to join them within the app.

Last month, fashion apparel brand BCBG Max Azria partnered with Magnum on a new clothing accessory designed to evoke the texture, look and scent of the ice cream while leveraging social media to generate buzz and boost summer sales for the item (see story).

Magnum’s focus on location-based technology and geofencing will likely yield higher sales this summer, especially among Tesco shoppers.

“The savvy retailers, brands and marketers are looking at location-based programs holistically rather than making just one technology bet,” Gotta Mobilize’s Mr. Hasen said.

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