Eastleigh Shopping Centre In Technology First

A shopping centre on the south coast has become the first in the UK to adopt the proximity-based marketing tool Beacons.

Brands including WHSmiths, Game and Nandos have signed up to use the technology at the Swan Centre in Eastleigh, Hampshire to deliver targeted ads to shoppers’ mobile phones. The Beacons tool means retailers will be able to send shoppers discounts and offers straight to their phones when they visit the centre, without them having to open an app or browse a website.

The service was developed by technology start-up TagPoints. It incorporated the Beacons tool into the Swan Centre’s “SmartRewards” loyalty app, which it says has already had more than 1,200 downloads despite “limited” marketing of the app to shoppers.

Users now will receive a welcome message when they enter the centre, along with 10 loyalty points that can be used in conjunction with retailers’ discount offers in a bid to get people to sign up to the service. Seven brands with stores in the shopping centre have already signed up to use the Beacons technology, with campaigns expected to roll out in the coming weeks.

Sue Hillyer, WH Smith’s Swan Centre store manager, says: “Being able to offer real-time rewards and incentives based on a customer’s location is very exciting. It has already driven shoppers into store and we can only see it being more successful as targeting gets more accurate.”

High-profile US brands such as Macy’s, Timberland and Clarks are actively testing the tool, but UK advertisers have adopted more of a “wait and see” approach to using Beacons. However, food chain Eat recently became the first brand to trial Weve’s new loyalty app, Pouch, which uses Beacons.

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