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Atlanta’s Midtown merchants enlist beacons for mobile loyalty program

A handful of merchants located in Atlanta’s Midtown district are 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.

“Midtown Atlanta is home to many leading finance and mobile technology companies and is quickly gaining a reputation as Innovation Central in the U.S. market,” said Ronald Herman, CEO and founder of Sionic Mobile. “We want to help further elevate Midtown Atlanta by connecting more merchants with more consumers through mobile devices than any other geography in the country.”

Driving business
Sionic Mobile believes Midtown Atlanta is the perfect location to test its new rewards and payments initiative.

An early adopter of the program is Zocalo Mexican Kitchen and Cantina, located at the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue.

In the coming months, Midtown residents and visitors will be able to download and use the Ion Rewards app to view promotions from Zocalo, pay their bill through the app and receive rewards based on the amount of their bill.

When users earn rewards, they are delivered in the form of Ions. Sionic Mobile’s Ions can be spent like cash at participating merchants. These rewards never expire.

The technology works alongside any existing POS system and requires no upfront cost or additional equipment. Sionic Mobile believes the system can be set up in 30 minutes or less.

The Woodruff Art Center and Mystic Lotus Salon are a couple other merchants that have signed on to the program. Sionic Mobile expects 200-300 total Midtown merchants will enroll between now and Dec. 5.

Local business owners interested in participating can register at

Beacons on the rise
Retailers of large scale are starting to deploy beacons more extensively.

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 (see story).

An increasing number of retailers are already using beacons, according to a recent Adobe report.

In a reflection of how quickly marketers have embraced beacon technology, 18 percent report that they are using beacons today in tests or active deployments, according to new research from Adobe.

Beacons and location awareness are adding another dimension to in-store digitization, with high expectations for their impact this holiday season. The research found that 55 percent of consumers find it useful to receive promotions on their mobile device while in a physical store (see story).

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