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Xerox rolls out beacon-driven local offers app for NJ commuters

Xerox Corporation is joining the slew of companies leveraging hyperlocal, beacon-driven technology by introducing the Shop and Ride mobile application, which allows Hoboken, NJ commuters to receive relevant offers from 35 nearby merchants along their travel routes.

With mobile ticketing continuing to dominate commuters’ must-have lists, marketers are quickly looking for the next sales-driving iteration with which to target individuals. Xerox is rolling out the Shop and Ride app to mass transit riders in Hoboken, enabling them to receive customized, hyperlocal mobile deals based on their travel patterns and preferences, suggesting that the future of mobile ticketing may be intertwined with rewards.

“We’ve done a lot of research to understand people’s habits,” said Chris Holmes, vice president of mobile commerce solutions, payments and public sector at Xerox. “It becomes clear [consumers are] looking for mobile ticketing or trip planning.

“They’re very interested in offers as part of their transit experiences.”

Hyperlocal in Hoboken
Commuters in Hoboken, a New Jersey suburb of New York, now have added incentive to use the public transit system – receiving personalized, local offers from nearby merchants if they download Xerox’s Shop and Ride iOS app.

Shop and Ride users will be able to see hyperlocal deals from merchants including restaurants and massage parlors thanks to beacon devices implemented at bus shelters and storefronts. Beacon technology enables consumers to receive relevant offers upon walking by these locations during their travel routes.

New Shop and Ride users are asked to set up a personal profile so that the app will send offers relevant to their interests. Shop and Ride also hones each individual’s targeted offers the more frequently he or she uses the app.

Commuters can save a mobile coupon for immediate or future redemption.

Xerox is currently collaborating with 35 merchants in the Hoboken area to send offers to New Jersey Transit customers. The company expects the merchant participation list to grow to 60 by the end of summer.

Current offers include $5 off a Zumba class at Celebrate Life Studio, 10 percent off a custom cake at Om Sweet Home and 20 percent off a magic massage at Massage by Dusty.

Hoboken was chosen as the first test city for the beacon deployment due to its sizable population of commuters – clocking in at around 200,000 – its proximity to New York and its plethora of shopping, food and entertainment options.

“It’s a perfect area,” Mr. Holmes said. “The town has grown drastically in the last few years; [there are] a lot of young people in that town.

“It’s also in the domain of New Jersey Transit. Lots of people travel to and from that town in the day using public transit.”

Xerox is working with local transit advertising agency AR James to connect the merchants with potential new customers.

Merchant and commuter benefits
Each participating merchant shares two weekly mobile coupons with Shop and Ride users. The merchants also leverage important user information from Xerox to help inform their future rollouts, such as real-time tracking of conversion rates and anonymized data, which displays the number of individuals who open, save and redeem the deals.

Therefore, business owners can make data-driven decisions centering on what types of offers to introduce and the optimal time to roll them out. Merchants are also well-poised to build a repeat audience once transit riders become familiar with their products or services.

On the consumer side, individuals will incentivized to commute more regularly if they know they will receive hyperlocal deals while doing so.

Because beacon technology enables Xerox to learn when a particular user typically travels and what his or her preferred transit hubs are, that consumer will receive offers completely customized to those travel patterns.

This marks a stark contrast from online marketplaces such as LivingSocial and Groupon, which often times showcase coupons and deals in a general area rather than a specific radius.

“We use beacons so we can be aware when a particular user is close by a merchant who has an offer relevant to them,” Mr. Holmes said. “It becomes very timely.”