London iBeacon rollout a signal for US retail

The iBeacon rollout along London's high-profile Regent Street is an example of what iBeacon proponents think should happen in U.S. retail.

This week, iBeacons along the mile-long street — essentially the Fifth Avenue of London — went active to the public after previously aggregating thousands of users. Regent Street comprises 130 retail stores, including Burberry and Hugo Boss.

The messages sent to passers-by are highly targeted and personalized, using a relatively new mobile-based technology called Autograph. The technology uses a flashcard-style interface that quickly captures consumer preferences.

"The beacon only activates the phone if the message is highly relevant to a person," Henry Lawson, CEO of Autograph, told MediaPost's MobileShopTalk blog.

The process is simple for shoppers: After downloading the Regent Street app, which is heavily promoted throughout the upscale shopping street as well as on buses and other signs, the consumer swipes up on brands they like and down on those whey want to ignore.

Even though a commonly discussed risk with beacons is that passing consumers could turn off their Bluetooth to avoid a barrage of messages, Autograph may have a solution.

"If the beacon is relevant, the app pings. And those pings are not necessarily coupons or deals, but can be announcements of a new product line," Lawson said. "At the end of all this, you have to have a compelling consumer proposition."

For more:
-See this MediaPost MobileShopTalk blog post

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