Latest beacon trials aimed at tailoring retail offers and assisting prospective students

Two new location-based marketing efforts are underway in Australia utilising beacon and mobile apps to tailor onsite experiences for customers and students

Example of a pushed retail offer during the Westfield Hornsby and CommBank trial
Example of a pushed retail offer during the Westfield Hornsby and CommBank trial

Two location-based services trials united in their use of beacon technology and desire to improve onsite experiences, but very different in terms of business objectives, have launched on opposite sides of the country.

Westfield mall owner, Scentre Group, has rolled out a new pilot of location-based marketing at its Westfield Hornsby store, giving shoppers with CommBank accounts the opportunity to earn tailored retail offers. Consumers with the new CommBank Offers app who opt-in to the trial can access offers from 20 speciality retailers initially, including InBloom Florists, Chemmart, Myer, McDonalds and Country Road, based on their personal preferences and location in the mall.

Scentre Group general manager of brandspace, Bill Burton, said the pilot uses a mix of smartphone iOS applications, Web-based content management systems, location-based beacon technology, and the Westfield SmartScreen digital screen networks. The trial is running from now until 31 December.

“We’re looking to deliver a seamless 'right offer, right time' experience to their mobile device,” he told CMO. “Of course, we always have the customer’s privacy at heart, thus the requirement to 'opt-in' for this service.”

At this stage, the CommBank app only tracks device ID and beacon location to present an offer.

“When shoppers opt-in, it allows retailers to serve messages relevant to the person’s location and shopping interests, avoiding spam,” Burton continued. “Imagine walking into a store that triggers an alert for a certain deal that suits you. The aim is to deliver a relevant, seamless, 21st century shopping experience for CommBank customers at Westfield Hornsby.”

As well as the benefit to consumers, Burton said the technology offered retailers a powerful and targeted way to talk to shoppers at the right place and the right time, driving traffic to their stores.

“For instance, a florist could create a discount deal on fresh flowers in the last hour of trade and let people in the vicinity know through the offers app,” he said.

Scentre Group is solely focused on piloting this technology mix and retail offer platform at one location this year, and just for CommBank customers, but will look at expanding to other retail malls if it’s successful, Burton said.

“We’ll be assessing all the learnings in January for a potential wider roll out,” he said.

CommBank executive general manager for retail products and strategy, Angus Sullivan, noted the rising popularity of the mobile wallet and said mobile phones are the new gateway to banking for millions of Australians.

“With more than 3.9 million unique customers with the CommBank app, we wanted to create a more advanced shopping experience which offers value beyond making payments or checking a balance,” he said.

“New innovations like the CommBank Offers app, along with the Loyalty feature in the CommBank app, offer customers the convenience and ease of keeping their loyalty cards and special offers safe and secure on their mobile device.”

Student on-boarding at Curtin University

Curtin University, meanwhile, says a recent pilot of beacon technologies during its August open day exceeded expectations and provided great data insights into students.

As part of the trial, Curtin launched a proximity aware app for both iOS and Android and which provided prospective students with tailored information based on their location on campus. To do this, Curtin partnered with tech provider and consultancy, iProximity, on its Hello mobile app and iPX management systems, and placed 25 beacons around the campus to push messages out to users.

Curtin University platforms manager, Anthony Green, said the objective was to enable and simplify the discovery of course-based information. However, other interactive content was also available, and the app also displayed the full university Open Day website when students moved offsite.

In all, 1401 prospective students registered on the Hello Curtin App, 85 per cent of which were using iOS devices, and averaged three different proximity enabled locations, generating more than 4050 individual information pushes.

“The pilot at Open Day exceeded our expectations and we learnt a great deal from the data collected,” Green said. “This has helped inform how we can integrate the platform at large-scale events with the beacon integration planned at Orientation Week and other on-campus activity.”

iProximity co-founder, David Burden, said Curtin was one of the first universities globally to roll out proximity-based information services during an open day.

“We are also very pleased that it was such a success and that there are plans to further incorporate proximity-based services across the university,” he said.

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