With close to 4 million beacons deployed globally, last year was arguably the best year for proximity marketing yet. To add more excitement to the scenario, the latest numbers from Proxbook’s Q4 2015 Report indicate that the industry is well on track to deploy 400 million beacons by the year 2020. Most of the beacon use cases among the beacon deployments that the industry and media witnessed were from retail. So, we bring you a comprehensive list of the top ten retailers that made a mark with their proximity marketing campaigns. Let’s start:

1. Woolworths

Supermarket giant Woolworths successfully completed a beacon trial with one store using iBeacon technology to improve customer service around click-and-collect. Thereafter, the chain announced that they are looking to roll out beacons across all of its 254 click-and-collect stores with the aim of allowing consumers to place their order online and pick them up in-store. For instance, when a click-and-collect consumer comes within a certain radius of the store, a notification is sent to Woolworths’ picking systems. This notification prompts the staff to start assembling the order. Certain triggers at different stages of the fulfilment process then prompt a push notification via the app to the consumer, notifying them that their order is ready.

2. Macy’s

Macys-using-beaconsImage source: fastcompany.com

Following a round of successful beacon trials in New York and San Francisco, Macy’s expanded its beacon program to all stores nationwide, by installing more than 4,000 beacons. This step was a part of the retailer’s efforts to make bigger investments in omni-channel retail technologies. This Thanksgiving, Macy’s also used a beacon-triggered mobile app game at its 700 stores, to engage shoppers. Shoppers received push notifications triggered by their proximity to beacons placed throughout the stores. These notifications encouraged them to participate in an engaging digital experience with a chance to instantly win $1 million Macy’s gift codes and other prizes.

3. Waitrose

Waitrose-using-beaconsImage source: retail-innovation.com

UK supermarket Waitrose started using iBeacon technology at its relatively new experimental Swindon store to deliver price promotions to consumers when they were near a particular aisle or food counter. The beacon-enabled Waitrose app also allows a consumer to scan barcodes, read customer reviews of products, add items to a virtual shopping basket, and pay via a mobile wallet. The app also allows a consumer to call for assistance. A member of the staff receives the request informing them that a customer is waiting for help. The staff member also receives information about the customer and his/her previous shopping history which helps them get a better idea about how they should approach the customer.

4. Tesco

Tesco-using-beaconsImage source: nfcworld.com

UK supermarket giant Tesco launched its “biggest trial” of iBeacon technology, in partnership with consumer goods company Unilever, by deploying beacons in 270 stores across London. They launched the ‘Mpulse app’ as a part of the Pink and Black marketing campaign. Once this app was downloaded, consumers received exclusive coupons for discounted Pink and Black Magnums directly to their phone when they passed by installed beacons in 270 Tesco Express stores.

5. Rite Aid

Rite Aid has installed beacons in over 4,500 US stores for retargeting and personalization of user experience. This large scale beacon deployment by the Pharmacy chain is the largest beacon installation program in a retail setting till date. In fact, it has even surpassed the one undertaken by the famous Macy’s. Rite Aid plans to employ these beacons to focus on creation of a digital infrastructure base that will enable the drug-store chain to link its stores to the Internet of Things (IoT), collection of beacon-level proximity data to strategize their retargeting plan, and achieve personalization capabilities similar to those that have been used in e-commerce.

6. Walgreens

walgreens-using-beaconsImage source: umbel.com

Walgreens has innovated considerably in the mobile retail space by using iBeacon and other technologies at over 7000 locations. Duane Reade, the largest drugstore chain in New York City, owned by Walgreens, leveraged iBeacon technology at ten of its stores to boost its loyalty program. Walgreens implemented beacons in its stores to alert passersby of offers and in store coupons. They also did something more on the notifications front in the form of alerts as to what a user can do with the application, for example printing Instagram photos directly from the app or filling prescriptions automatically.

7. Best Buy

bestbuy-using-beaconsImage source: glassappsource.com

Best Buy implemented a beacon strategy to help boost sales and improve on personalisation of experience. The retail giant chose to use their own application as well as Shopkick retailing app to offer rewards to shoppers, simply for stepping foot in the door. There was not much in-store promotion of products using beacons.

8. Nordstrom

Nordstrom, a retailer based in Seattle, is using beacons to bridge the gap between online shopping and in-store experience. Their beacon-enabled app notifies consumers if any item in their mobile shopping bag is in stock, as they pass by the store which has a beacon installed at its entrance. This helps Nordstrom provide an enriching online-to-offline shopping experience to its consumers.

9. Carrefour

carrefour-using-beaconsImage source: creapills.com

Carrefour has extensive iBeacon networks in all 28 of its hypermarkets in Romania through which the retail chain offers its consumers a simple, intuitive, and fun app for orientation inside hypermarkets from area to area. The retailer’s beacon-enabled app automates the commercial content delivery and collects essential data about in-store consumer behavior. Its proximity marketing campaign keeps consumers informed about the products, services, and actual special offers from each of the store departments. With beacons, Carrefour has seen an astounding rise in its application’s engagement rate which went up by 400% and the number of app users which grew by 600 percent in seven months.

10. Hammerson

Hammerson rolled out beacons across their shopping centers to improve personalisation of consumers’ shopping experience. Their beacon-enabled Plus app was initially trialled at Les Terrasses du Port in Marseille and it ranked among the top 10 lifestyle apps in France. Presently, over 80,000 customers have downloaded the Plus app already and Hammerson has over 6,000 beacons situated throughout its shopping centres in the UK and France. The retail centre insists on using the technology to send personalised offers to customers in specific locations at the centre and also to understand how customers are moving around the centres.

If you have any other interesting retail proximity marketing campaigns in mind, please share it in the comments below.

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