Everybody is talking about it: iBeacon. As with most new technologies, fashion retailers are not sure whether to invest in it or not. Alex & Ani (USA) gave it a try.
What is it?
iBeacon is a technology that enables retailers to send a message to consumers who are 1) nearby the beacon and 2) using a specific app that gives the opportunity to actually get in contact with shoppers. iBeacon is a product coming from Apple, but other technology companies are now also developing similar beacons. Retailers can use the technology to, for instance, send promotions to passing shoppers.
Alex & Ani, a fashion retailer focusing on authentic jewellery, is – according to this article – the first company in the US to start working with iBeacon nationwide. Their am is to make people who do not know Alex & Ani yet more aware of their existence. However, before rolling out, the company did some tests from May to July 2013 in order to determine the success rate of the technology. They found that over 75% of shoppers read Alex & Ani’s offerings and half of these shoppers redeemed the promotion (20% discount on a bracelet). Although actual sales conversion rates are not known, Alex & Ani therefore seem to be enthusiastic about the possibilities of iBeacon for their company.
Google: iBeacon in the fashion industry
How does it work?
iBeacon is location-sensitive system that recognizes – if equipped with the right software – devices such as smartphones within a certain radius. If the owners of these devices installed a software program (app) that enables them to see content coming from such beacons, organisations can send their welcome message, promotional offerings and other information while using iBeacon. iBeacon uses what is referred to as ‘Bluetooth Smart technology’, which is a lighter form of Bluetooth technology (Bluetooth Low Energy, BLE).
Several organisations provide software that work with iBeacons; Alex & Ani have an agreement with Swirl Networks inc, that developed a marketing and advertising platform. iOS and Android users who have installed Swirl ánd have agreed to receive offerings from their retail partners, can then receive the message of iBeacon, at a maximum range of 300 feet.
What is its core value?
The main goal for Alex & Ani to use iBeacon was to get consumers into the store who are not familiar with the brand – something many brands strive for. Additionally, it is expected that the software will create a rich profile of shoppers’ browsing and purchasing behavior. Gender-specific information combined with time and location spent in-store plus purchase preferences should give Alex & Ani more insight into the behavior and wishes of their (future) customers.
Find just that store with Baps
iBeacon technology explained: