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Shoppers get taste of geographic marketing

18 октября 2010

British shoppers will soon be receiving money-off offers from Starbucks and L’Oréal over their mobile phones, in the most ambitious deployment yet of new location-based wireless marketing technology outside of Japan.

The two brands are both launching promotions on the UK’s O2 mobile phone network, owned by Spain’s Telefónica, the world’s third-largest mobile phone company, using a “geofencing” system that directs text messages to customers when they are in the proximity of stores.

Ken Leitch, a spokesman for O2 said: “There’s been talk for years in the advertising world about the possibility of location-based mobile phone marketing. But this is it, now. It’s a reality.”

Starbucks will use the system not only around its UK stores, but also around grocery stores, sending numerical codes that can give the recipient 50 pence off its new Via instant coffee.

L’Oréal is using “geofences” set up around Superdrug, the high street health and beauty retailer, to promote sales of its Elvive brand hair products.

Mr Leitch said other brands would join the service within coming weeks, which is available to about one million customers who have signed up promotions and offers from the carrier’s “O2 More” service.

The system uses global satellite positioning technology developed by Placecast, a private US company.

Placecast has previously launched brand-specific geofencing systems in the US for North Face, the outdoor clothing brand and retailer owned by VF Corp, and American Eagle, a youth clothing chain.

But O2’s base of about a million customers that have opted to receive messages is far larger than previous brand-specific efforts.

Alistair Goodman, Placecast’s chief executive, said the company was setting up about 1,500 geofences across the UK for Starbucks and L’Oréal, giving marketers the ability to tie specific offers to specific locations should they choose, or to react to local weather conditions.

The targeted locations, he said, would extend beyond the immediate vicinity of the stores.

“Expanding the size of the geofences a little is actually more effective ... It’s about getting consumers who are in the mood to purchase, who are heading for the high street for their weekend shopping trip.”

Its GPS-based service is now vying for attention from marketers with other location-based social networks, such as FourSquare, which can be used to offer promotions to customers who use their mobile phones to register their presence at retail locations.

In the US, several leading retailers, including Best Buy, Macy’s and Target, are now testing Shopkick, a system that uses a non-audible audio signal to send promotions to participating customers’ mobile phones when they enter a store.


Источник: Financial Times

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