In 2015 Big W experimented with beacon technology in two campaigns: a high tech easter egg hunt and a scavenger hunt as part of its Total Toy Domination 2 campaign.
The retailer tasked Beaconmaker with designing the activations powered by beacons, with a focus on ‘gamification’ rather than pushing offers or notifications from the retailer to the consumer’s smartphone.
“The way we’ve used beacons is quite simple,” Peter Chen, design co-founder of Beaconmaker, told Inside Retail Magazine. “There’s no triangulation, there isn’t any data collection. It is just simply showing roughly how close the user is to the treasure.
“The way we’ve been reading about beacons is all about getting notified of specials, or welcome messaging, or what’s in season, whereas this is really a fun experience for everyone who comes instore – without being force fed messages from the retailer. What this actually does for the retailer is that it brings in a lot of footfall.”
In April, Big W’s Great Eggscape Treasure Hunt involved Beaconmaker deploying five beacons in 183 Big W stores Australia-wide. Once the app was downloaded, visitors selected which ‘egg’ they wanted to find, and a hot/cold meter in the app guided them to the beacon.
In late June/early July, Big W deployed a second temporary beacon campaign in the form of a ‘search and rescue’ style of scavenger hunt. As part of the Total Toy Domination 2 campaign, visitors would search for the five evil geniuses to help them get back to their command ship in outer space.
App design and the hardware for a retail campaign requires an investment of “around six figures”.
Retail isn’t the core business focus for Beaconmaker, which has developed reusable modules that are easily customisable for different venue and precinct-based clients.
For example, Beaconmaker’s self-guided tour app at Central Park in Sydney is focused on deepening relationships with existing and repeat visitors.
Officially launched in September, the Discover Central Park app is designed to provide information about the development using beacon technology to activate content, including descriptions, audio tours, images and video content.
“From our experience dealing with venues, what we are trying to target is not so much visitors or tourists – we want people who come back regularly to actually use in the app so they can keep it on their phone and visit the app once in awhile when they are on site,” Chen said. “Those are sort of our target audiences.”
The new app features 15 points of interest around Central Park including the historic Brewery Yard and One Central Park’s world famous vertical gardens created by French botanist and artist, Patrick Blanc.
The app will also provide up-to-date information about Central Park’s shopping centre ‘The Living Mall’ including store and restaurant opening times, store information and Central Park’s promotions and events.
“The Central Park app is quite innovative for the property industry and is a prime example of how geo-located technology is being used at a developed urban village,” said Frasers Property’s sales and marketing director, Paul Lowe.
“A project the scale and complexity of Central Park naturally attracts a local and international audience, as well as a broad industry audience – anyone from builders, engineers, lighting experts – the list is endless.
“With a simple download onto a smartphone or tablet, visitors and anyone interested can now be given a detailed and specialist tour of the key points of interest that make Central Park such a remarkable, world-leading development.”
Can beacons stand the test of time?
“Beacons are just one small thing when it comes to location-based technology,” Chen said. “Wi-Fi triangulation is getting a lot better, so who’s to say the accuracy of Wi-Fi could take over?
“Something might emerge as a better technology to replace beacons with. That’s why we aren’t really basing our business on this technology. It’s all around the content and what technology we can use to better serve that content.”
This story was originally published in the November 2015 issue of Inside Retail Magazine. Click here to subscribe.