8 Current Affairs in Proximity Marketing, a Market Waiting to Unfold

In addition to the well-understood mobile shopping use cases, proximity platforms could also transform digital out-of-home, or even traditional billboard marketing. Proximity marketing can be done at bus stops, sporting arenas and events are all areas where beacons or even near field communication chips could create multichannel campaigns. Many proximity marketing companies are providing add-on features which help in measuring advertising and promotion effectiveness and better understand the customer journey. In the case of proximity marketing which was initially driven by SMS and WiFi, transformation started with the introduction of NFC. BLE technology gave a meaningful direction to proximity marketing.

Here are some recent news items highlighting companies bringing new developments in the field of proximity marketing:

LoyaltyGrid brings reward programs for luxury brands via NFC

This Dutch startup has launched a solution to enable luxury brands to reward their customers at the point of sale. The NFC tags have been embedded in the product packaging and would help deliver rewards, discounts, special event invites and other exclusive content and incentives directly to customers. The company had first launched the NFC based proximity marketing service at the Luxe Pack event in Monaco.

The major challenge that the company faced was to keep its platform entirely web-based so that the customer doesn’t require any specific app to download. Customers can simply scan or tap NFC chips and get direct access to the content. On the first scan at a retail location, LoyaltyGrid recognises the pack through its unique ID, remembers the location of the pack itself and then asks the customer to rescan the pack once it is purchased.

BFonics has upgraded its iBeacon based proximity platform and is expanding to new markets

The company provides an enterprise class iBeacon based end-to-end proximity marketing platform targeting specifically the retail and hospitality industries. It has upgraded its software platform to bring business analytics features to drive loyalty programs. The primary features of the platform include:

  • Enhanced Deal management and APIs to push personalized rich media content directly to customers' smart phones and tablets.
  • Enhanced Beacon (Asset) Management capabilities: to Configure, Manage and Track your in-store and outside beacon network.
  • Personalized pricing based on customer loyalty- delivered by integrating with your customer data store.
  • Enhanced iPhone and Android SDK to support your custom integration needs
  • Enhanced Server APIs - to integrate their beacon, deal and content management platform to your existing software infrastructure.

The company has also announced plans to expand to India, Ireland and the Middle East.

SmarTone launches beacon based proximity marketing service

This Hong Kong based mobile operator has launched ‘ST Beacon’, a marketing service for retailers based on proximity triggering. The service enables retailers to engage customers by notifying customers’ smartphones of their presence via an app. The triggered retailer’s app can retrieve relevant information specific to the location triggered by a particular ST beacon. The ST beacon helps deliver tailored messages ranging from welcome messages to prompts for new arrivals, small-area promotional messaging and product information when in close proximity to a product.

ST Beacon uses Bluetooth technology and is compatible with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and earlier Bluetooth versions 2.1 and 3.0 as well. It is compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones. Multiple ST Beacons can be deployed in a retail location, by plugging into AC mains outlets, or they could be battery-powered. The ST Beacon and the apps supporting it are open to users of all mobile networks in Hong Kong.

Thinaire comes up with a new Solution to Deliver In-Store Digital Coupons

Thinaire has integrated loyalty rewards and coupon delivery into its cloud-based mobile engagement platform. This satisfies the number one goal of marketers – to interact with consumers while in-store and deliver value to drive purchases. Working with coupon aggregators, Thinaire offers digital retailer-branded coupons directly to shoppers at the point-of-sale; Thinaire’s ActiveShopper helps retailers boost redemption while better measuring the impact of brand offers.

Thinaire, a prominent player in proximity marketing solutions, will use its ActiveShopper digital-coupon-solution to enable brands and retailers deliver incentives to shoppers when and where they’re most receptive. Thinaire has been working with its key partners, such as NewsCorp’s News America Marketing, British Telecom, YouTechnology, Smartrac, NXP and others, to ensure broad deployment of industry leading proximity marketing solutions, globally.

Loopd launches one-of-a-kind bi-directional proximity marketing solution

Loopd provides proximity marketing solutions exclusively for corporate events, tradeshows and symposiums. The company recently announced the industry's first bi-directional proximity marketing solution. Loopd is giving marketers the ability to capture, analyze, grade and quantify face-to-face interactions at corporate events in real time.

The company's unique technology approach enables bi-directional information exchanges between companies and event attendees. It allows marketers to not only capture valuable information about customers and leads, but to share content and information directly with people who pass by the exhibit or interact with company representatives at an event—automatically.

The solution is comprised of bi-directional beacons, embeddable chips that can be worn in event badges, and a mobile app. Information can be exchanged chip-to-chip, or via any Loopd Wi-Fi beacon in a company's exhibit. Through the app, attendees can see and share information that is pushed to them, or given to them via a 'tap'.

Brickstream acquires Nomi to become a leading competitor in proximity marketing based analytics

A leading provider of in-store analytics, Brickstream recently announced its acquisition of the location analytics company Nomi. With the acquisition, Brickstream has become a dominant player in proximity marketing by having the largest number of global deployments, a partner network, application suite and an offering of smart devices. The company’s platform provides a complete view of the customer journey both across digital and in-store channels. Brickstream now has a significant lead over competitors with 100,000 smart devices installed globally.

In the past 3 months alone, NOMi and Brickstream have jointly signed and deployed 27 new clients. That number will grow eventually thanks to Brickstream's global network of 50 channel partners covering 65 countries. NOMi has been known to provide comprehensive enterprise-grade analytics and proximity marketing in a single platform.

Spindle launches ‘Yowza!! Beacon’ program for retailers

Known for its mobile commerce solutions, Spindle is now offering retailers new services via its Yowza!! Beacon marketing platform. Merchants can now leverage the beacon technology at a flat monthly fee of $10 for each location regardless of the number of beacons being deployed at that location. Spindle will help the merchants establish ideal customized beacon strategies. Spindle would help in determining the number of beacons for the location, the selection of hardware, system implementation, content management and generic tutorials as well.

The beacon transmitters at merchant locations would help deliver offers and rich media content to in-store shoppers. Content would be customizable and can be related to product-based information, coupons, corporate messaging, etc.

Proxama announces plans to launch programs in U.S.

The UK based company, known for its mobile proximity marketing, loyalty and NFC payments, recently announced plans to enter the U.S. market. Proxama provides a proximity engagement and loyalty solution called TapPoint and mobile NFC payment platform dubbed as CardGateway. Proxama's solutions have helped well-known brands, retailers, banks and card issuers like Barclaycard, Softcard, Mastercard, Ubisoft, KIA Oval, Domino's Pizza, Guinness and many more.

As part of its launch in the U.S., the company would offer services like NFC redemption of offers and loyalty rewards, automatic check-ins via BLE beacons and generate offers using NFC billboards and smart posters. Proxama’s platforms not only offer payments but enable retailers and banks to leverage NFC, BLE and other proximity and location technologies to provide all smartphone users with more personal, convenient and real-time mobile commerce interactions.