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Sue Bee Honey leverages beacon technology to boost in-store mobile communication

American honey producer Sue Bee Honey has recently had a measure of success in an experiment with beacon technology to augment customers’ in-store experiences.

The excursion into proximity-based technology has brought back impressive results, with significant surges in awareness, purchase intent, and return on investment. The brand’s success could spell further adoption for beacon technology and granular location-based marketing in general.

“inMarket uses beacons in over 100,000 locations to help shopping apps ‘wake up’ when you enter the store,” said Joleen David, president of SKAR. “These ‘wake ups’ are not branded; they’re simple utility messages (i.e. “Don’t forget you have 10 items on your shopping list”) and they have a positive impact on app usage and retention.

“When the shopper opens the app, we combine the knowledge that they’re in a store with the type of app they’re using to deliver a hyper-relevant message. For example, in a shopping list app, the branded content could say ‘Add Sue Bee Honey to your list.’”

In-store experience
The experiment in proximity-based technology was borne of a collaboration between the honey brand and SKAR, a full-service communications agency, and also inMarket, a platform that specializes in beacon proximity advertising.

The mechanism by which the consumer was exposed to the location-based advertising was through leveraging ‘mobile moments’ within bricks-and-mortar locations. The consumers were targeted precisely when making a purchase decision— an approach that breaches the indifference met by most untargeted or poorly targeted advertising.

The use of location is an innovative way to perceive the now-ubiquitous protocol of targeting, which is normally deployed in response to tracking pixels generated through online browsing interests. By using location as the cornerstone of its targeting procedure, Sue Bee Honey, SKAR and inMarket have found a way to effectively bring digital-style targeting into the bricks-and-mortar shopping experience.

Promising results
The collaboration has been a resounding success for Sue Bee Honey, which increased its overall awareness by almost 50 percent, increased its purchase intent by 450 percent and delivered a 240 per return on investment. SKAR and inMarket also have to be happy with the results, which speak to the efficacy of their services to similar brands looking to close the gap between intent and transaction.

The use of mobile platforms to augment the in-store experience is gaining momentum in various retail sectors. Recently, Samsung Pay teamed up with Ziosk to enable smartphone-to-tablet payments for diners at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews, Friendly’s and Uno Pizzeria & Grill locations, adding a new layer of convenience to the growing area of tabletop devices in casual restaurants (see story).

And Heineken recently enabled festivalgoers at Outside Lands 2016 to send their friends virtual beer passes through the Buddy Drinks mobile application, giving those recipients easy access to pre-purchased alcohol at the brand’s on-site location while ramping up sales for its products (see story).

“Most shoppers already rely on their device in-store in some capacity, whether it’s through a shopping list, coupons app or simply texting their significant other about what to buy,” Ms. David said. “Mobile takes us further down the purchase funnel than ever before.”

“Many of the traditional in-store or shopper marketing tactics are missing the mark because people walk by with their eyes on their phone. The consumer behavior already exists— we’re simply connecting with people where they prefer it.”