Retailers across categories are testing and implementing beacon technology to connect their digital and in-store shopping experiences. Consumers who opt in to receive beacon alerts can receive timely deals, offers and coupons that align with their personal preferences, which can lead to increased engagement and sales.
Digital couponing marketplace RetailMeNot is breaking further into the beacon space by extending its partnership with proximity marketing platform provider Gimbal. With the partnership, RetailMeNot is striving to scale its location-based beacon tests, which were previously executed with retailers, shopping malls and out-of-home advertising networks.
“The challenge for us as a business is: What can we do to further monetize that in-store mobile audience?” said Bryan Hoyt, VP of Communications at RetailMeNot. “The great news is we’ve been testing beacon technology since last year. We know consumers appreciate the opportunity not to just get an offer at the store level, but specifically an offer at the product level. It’s exciting because it adds another opportunity for us to grow our in-store brick-and-mortar business and help retailers beyond online. It also moves us into a product marketing space.”
The partnership enables RetailMeNot’s retail and brand partners to engage high-intent shoppers by delivering offers within a specific area of a brick-and-mortar store. By offering Gimbal’s software platform and beacon hardware to existing retail and brand partners, RetailMeNot is empowering businesses to leverage its in-store marketing capabilities as well as its out-of-home proximity beacon networks that are deployed across public spaces.
“At Gimbal, we’ve created the concept of ‘digital ownership,’ where a retailer or venue can install the beacons and then decide how they want to partner with our applications,” said Kevin Hunter, COO of Gimbal. “If a brand wants to reach an audience that RetailMeNot may have, they can grant access to the RetailMeNot audience to basically engage with their consumers inside the store. That’s how you allow the bridge to be built and bring the digital experience with the physical experience.”
Gimbal’s Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons transmit a rolling, encrypted ID to ensure retail teams have secure ownership of their proximity network. The beacons can transmit information to mobile devices up to 50 meters away.
RetailMeNot mobile app users who opt in to the service are eligible to receive offers and other promotional content based on their specific in-store location, personal preferences and shopping behaviors at participating retail stores. In May 2015, the RetailMeNot app was the named the People’s Voice Webby Award Winner for best mobile shopping app.
“When you show up to the mall, we’ll deliver one of the 54 deals available at the stores in that mall, straight to your phone,” Hoyt said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “With beacons, if you’re walking in the home goods section of Macy’s, we can slash an offer for a particular manufacturer for a kitchen product. We have the ability to provide more relevant product information to consumers and we have another way to help retailers move inventory. On the consumer side, we’re giving consumers yet another reason to use the RetailMeNot app.”
Over the past few months, RetailMeNot has focused on diversifying its offerings beyond couponing and extending further into the in-store marketing and engagement space. In addition to its partnership with Gimbal, the company also has forged a relationship with beacon platform provider Swirl. Similar to the Gimbal partnership, RetailMeNot will offer Swirl’s platform and beacon hardware to retail and brand partners.
“We can use the technology to limit the cadence of how frequently we’re communicating with consumers, while layering in our personalization capabilities,” Hoyt stated. “We can provide consumers with deals that they care about. With personalization, we can be aware of a shopper’s gender, age, content affinity or location. I can push specific offers that matter and are designed to convince consumers to come back for future purchases.”
Extending into the beacon space is helping RetailMeNot reaffirm its value proposition. By partnering with Gimbal and Swirl, the company can extend its key performance indicators to include brand awareness, store traffic and sales. As a result, RetailMeNot is positioned to help retailers engage new customers, re-engage lost customers, support distressed inventory and trial new products.