Everyone talks about the Beacon technology.
Coop Sweden was the first to officially announce that they test it.
“This is just the first step for us,” says project manager Caroline Palmqvist.
Since Apple integrated LTE, called iBeacon, in their phones last year, retail industry has become aware of the technology – and excited.
The beacon itself is a small transmitter that can be placed in several locations in a store, and communicate with the customer’s phone. It is described as a small revolution in retailing, since it makes it possible not only to send targeted offers to customers depending on where they are in the store, but also because a beacon system can follow the customer’s path in a shop in the same way e-commerce can analyze a visit in an online store.
Coop’s pilot is not at that level – yet. At Coop Central station in Stockholm, the retail chain will test the possibility of sending Bluetooth messages to the stream of customers that pass outside.
“It is a stand-alone pilot project. Our idea is to see how receptive the Swedish people is to the technology”, says Caroline Palmqvist.
“We would also like to see the reactions of the suppliers. As a store, we have the platform, but they would of course be happy to be able to communicate specific offers. We cover many parameters now, but will not analyze any movement patterns in this pilot. It might be a parameter further along ”
Only those who use Coop’s app with an iPhone are targeted. Coop released their new app in May and has so far reached a six digit number of registered users. Previous experience shows that about 75 percent of them are active – and the majority are using the Iphone.
“If we were to test fully, it will probably be at a bigger shop as Coop Forum at Bromma. There is a different buying behaviour when you take the car and go for a full weekend shopping ”
The time horizon is difficult to estimate, Caroline Palmqvist says that the important thing was to get started.
“There are lots of different areas. The advantage of the Beacon technology is that it has many different functions in a single technology. And provides an opportunity for retailers to create their own campaigns. It’s only up to our own limitations to determine how we can use the Beacon. ”
How do you handle privacy issues?
“It’s important to be transparent about it. But it is also a matter of maturity. Consumers used to think of it as scary, but now the approach is more like “You should know what I want – give it to me,” says Caroline Palmqvist.
“If we give a value for the customer, I think we’ve reached the digital maturity and the convenience it offers. We want to not only use the app for push notifications, but should be able to decide what we want to say to whom and when and in what manner. We want it to be experienced as something positive. The client does not download the app only to get commercial offers. ”
The project begins in mid-August and is expected to last for two weeks to get a sufficient amount of data to evaluate future.
What are the next steps?
“The next step is probably a bigger store.”