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RetailMeNot’s surge of in-store and mobile use incites beacon commitment

Mobile coupon application RetailMeNot is partnering with Swirl to create in-store beacon-powered promotions as well as implement features and deals that take place while the consumer is shopping, following results indicating higher mobile and in-store usage.

These beacons in bricks-and-mortar stores will identify when the user is near a product or department, and will alert them of a corresponding deal or coupon. The notification and deal will now occur at the most likely time for a consumer to make a purchase, making them more likely to follow through with using the app and buy a particular product.

“We are enabling more retailers at scale to deliver relevant offers and promotions to shoppers,” he said Brian Hoyt, vice president of communications at RetailMeNot, Austin, TX. “RetailMeNot’s app was already location aware, for instance, we know when you cross the geo-fence of a shopping mall and would provide you with offers at that mall.

“Beacons enable retailers to engage with consumers while they are literally standing in front of products on shelves in a particular aisle,” he said. “That layer of more detailed location and relevancy can be very powerful.”

RetailMeNot addresses consumer wants and needs directly by offering a centralized list of deals and coupons, instead of having multiple apps for different brands and retailers. This partnership takes the convenience factor one step further with in-store brand promotion, as well as simplicity for the consumer.

Ahead of the game
The announcement of the partnership comes after RetailMeNot’s higher-than-expected sales earnings. The digital marketplace noticed the highest usage is taking place in-store and on mobile, with desktop sales declining 14 percent year-over-year, and unique visitors through mobile growing 55 percent year over year.

RetailMeNot plans on foraying further into these two areas, and the beacons are a part of that strategy.

Retailers that address the wants and needs of consumers directly have the potential to be the most successful, and that is what RetailMeNot is doing with beacons. The use of beacons through mobile apps is rising, prompting it to soon become a standard in the industry rather than a perk, which means brands and retailers that get involved now have an advantage.

The mobile platform and mobile device is a highly personal technology tool. Each consumer experience is different and highly individualized for the user’s wants and needs.

RetailMeNot uses this to its advantage in all aspects of the app, and beacon technology in bricks-and-mortar stores is an extension of that. The shopping experience has now become completely mobile-optimized and personal.

The technology also uses Bluetooth Low Energy beacons, making users more likely to continue use if it does not highly affect factors such as battery life and data usage.

Emergence of beacons
IHL Consulting Groups and RIS News executives at the NRF 104th Annual Convention & Expo said that while a good percentage of retailers currently have up-to-date POS software systems, emerging technologies that retailers will focus on over the next 12 months will likely be beacons, predictive analytics and EMV (see more).

A GameStop executive at the Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2015 revealed that in-store beacons, alongside augmented reality, are enhancing the in-store shopping process by offering a personalized experience and supporting the PowerUp Rewards loyalty program (see more).

“Hyper-local connectivity with the consumers provides the opportunity to offer a more relevant deal seeking experience for RetailMeNot’s millions of app users, but also drives awareness for thousands of our retail, restaurant and brand partners,” Mr. Hoyt said. “Beacons provide another channel for consumers to engage with the thousands of brands that use RetailMeNot’s promotional tools to drive brand awareness, store traffic and ultimately sales.

“For brands alone, there is significant opportunity to advertise product level deals to high-intent shoppers standing only inches away,” he said. “We are still in the early days of utilizing beacon technology.

“While we’ve tested beacon solutions with several retail partners, we are still discovering how delivering hyper local offers to consumers can provide more opportunities for shoppers to save money. For retailers, restaurants and brands, our goal is to further test at scale how this technology can help our partners achieve a number of shopper engagement goals with these more relevant offers.”

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily