Swirl mobile marketing tool taps BLE beacons

Swirl Networks recently rolled out its Swirl In-Store Mobile Marketing Platform, which the company said is the first to let large-scale retailers create and deliver personalized content and offers to shoppers based on their specific locations within physical retail stores.

The platform lets retailers communicate with customers through their mobile devices anywhere from the neighborhood level down to a particular area of a store, the company said, uniting the appeal of personalized e-commerce with indoor location-based marketing to help retailers increase foot traffic, customer engagement and store sales.

Swirl said the platform, which is powered by Bluetooth Low Energy positioning beacons, combines micro-location targeting with any retailer's app to deliver relevant messages, content and offers to consumers while they shop. Beacons can pinpoint a shopper's precise location within a store, the company said — such as the baby aisle or electronics department — in real time, and deliver relevant messages, content and offers.

Apple and PayPal each recently announced plans to employ beacons in retail stores.

Swirl said its pilot program, launched in May with national fashion retailers including Alex and Ani, Kenneth Cole and Timberland, demonstrated high consumer engagement and sales conversions, with a 75-percent in-store app open rate.

"We saw very promising results from the Swirl pilots we ran at our stores over the summer," Ryan Shadrin, vice president of retail and e-commerce for Timberland, said in a news release. "Customers appreciated receiving personalized mobile offers in-store; this is clearly a good way for us to connect with today's increasingly digital consumer. Based on what we've seen thus far, we're hoping to expand use of the Swirl in-store marketing technology to other Timberland locations in 2014."

Swirl said the platform comprises:

  • Swirl SecureCast Beacons: Self-contained, battery powered Bluetooth Low Energy indoor positioning beacons that install in minutes, work across both Apple and Android smartphones and automatically verify the precise location of a shopper who has opted into the retailer's app. SecureCast devices can be configured either as fully compatible, open Apple iBeacons or, for retailers concerned with data and consumer privacy, can be protected through Swirl's proprietary encryption and security technologies.
  • Swirl Mobile Client Software Development Kit: Enables retailers to easily embed Swirl's technology in their own branded retail apps, including the ability to engage shoppers with highly targeted and personalized content based on indoor micro-location as determined by the SecureCast beacons. The same in-store mobile experiences can also be added to any third-party publisher's app to expand audience reach and drive additional foot traffic to retail stores.
  • Swirl Marketing Console: Full suite of self-service marketing tools for in-store mobile campaign management and analytics, allowing retailers to easily create immersive mobile ad experiences that automatically launch as consumers shop in-store. Marketing teams can efficiently run campaigns across thousands of stores with the built-in role-based security and workflow management features, the company said. The cloud-based console also includes beacon management capabilities that let retailers manage a network of thousands of SecureCast and Apple iBeacon devices through a single interface.

"There's been steady demand from retailers and publishers to add our powerful micro-location capabilities to their own branded apps," Swirl founder and CEO Hilmi Ozguc said in the release. "We are now ready to open our doors to any and all retailers looking to dramatically improve the in-store shopping experience using these groundbreaking capabilities."

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Topics: Handsets / Devices, Mobile Marketing, Retail

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