Georgia town installs beacons in 80% of stores

In an interesting microcosm of mobile geolocation, an Atlanta suburb is rolling out beacons citywide to better reach and retain tech-savvy shoppers.

Roughly 30 retailers in downtown Alpharetta, Georgia have gotten on board with a program backed by the local government. Those stores account for 80 percent of businesses in the city, giving a unique look at what a beacon-enabled town can do.

All the businesses use Rately, a shopping browser app, giving them a new avenue to attract shoppers. But beyond the first visit, the program also gives shoppers reason to return. The app uses in-store beacons to credit users for trips they make to each store and can incentivize them with rewards, whether it's free coffee at a coffee shop or entry to win a cooler from an outdoors store.

Since the city is home to several technology companies including Rately, Alpharetta's economic development director Peter Tokar III hopes an updated retail community will resonate better with residents.

"Alpharetta, being the technology city of the south, means that we are constantly looking for new innovative ways, large or small, to utilize technology in the city to better the quality of life for our residents and support our local businesses," he said. "One of our downtown Alpharetta businesses, Digital Scientists, brought to our attention this new technology and the opportunity it gave us to promote local businesses, so we jumped at it."

Many retailers are trying out new ideas with beacons, and the early success of Apple Pay could mean shoppers are increasingly open to location-driven savings. Some developers are even busy trying to combine the two to allow customers to pay without waiting in checkout lines.

For more:
-See this City of Alpharetta statement
-See this Mobile Commerce Daily story

Related stories:
Target app introduces interactive maps, shopping lists
Beacons' promise burns bright
StepsAway expands mobile messaging in malls
Shopkick acquired by Korean telecom SKP
New iOS limits WiFi tracking for retailers

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