McDonald's tests beacon technology in Turkey, U.S. restaurants

A Turkish franchisee of McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) used beacons to test a proximity marketing campaign in 15 Istanbul McD Café restaurants late last year and early this year. As a result, 20 percent of visitors used the McDonald's offer, and 30 percent used the McDonald's offer more than once.

The program used "Shopping Genie," a loyalty app created by Turkish developer 10xZone to build more in-depth relationships with their clients and increase their awareness about a new line of flavored coffee drinks, including chai tea latte, ginger mocha and coconut latte. The beacons from Kontakt.io identified visitors who were repeat customers, as well as when they came and where they came from.

"With 10xZone's Shopping Genie app and the Kontakt.io beacons, McDonald's Turkey deployed two different campaigns," Ahmet Unver, partner at 10xZone.com told FierceRetailIT. "The first one was to motivate customers to come and buy two of any type of burger within a month–thereby increasing visit frequency–in order to gain a free ice cream." The second campaign involved the coffee drinks.

Shopping Genie is a cloud-based enterprise CRM, loyalty and couponing app, which supports smart triggers such as beacons, Wi-Fi, geographic locations and motion sensors. Merchants can deploy their loyalty promotions via electronic loyalty cards and start getting insights into customer behaviors online from the visit data records collected and analyzed by the 10xZone platform

The platform uses proximity technology to deliver relevant offers to its users. Every time Shopping Genie users enter a venue they are notified about a special offer.

"We know that a mobile channel plays a crucial role in reaching out to customers and that it's important to send relevant offers and not just spam them said Nedim Bali, marketing manager, McDonald's Turkey. "Shopping Genie follows those simple rules, tailoring each users' special offers to his or her pre-selected likes, and results of the campaign are the strong indication of how good the targeting is."

The proximity marketing "makes it possible for us to see the conversion rate of a visit, resulting in a purchase in real time. The results of the campaign proved that our customers liked both: the products and the campaign mechanism," Bali said.

"Beacons provide unparalleled context for a mobile marketing message," said Trevor Longino, head of marketing and public relations at Kontakt.io. "By connecting them to the cloud, you are able to make very informed decisions about what offers to present to whom, based on shopping history, traffic through your location, other preferences for people in the same demographic space, and more. Having that kind of information available real-time in a store can influence customer decision-making in profound ways and drastically improve customer loyalty, delight and ROI."

McDonald's Turkey will continue to use beacons, especially when they introduce new products or flavors and want to promote them to early adaptors, Unver said.

"This is a great example of how proximity-based marketing can influence customer behavior. By adding a real-time element to context–telling users who are in a specific place at a specific time that they have an offer available to them–you create a trinity of great marketing: it's exclusive, it's time-sensitive and it's relevant," Longino said.

McDonald's had previously tested Piper beacon technology in Columbus, Georgia, franchise locations. The franchisee used the system to deliver coupon offers, alerts, employment opportunities and customer surveys to people as they entered the locations, said Jack Pezold, owner and operator.

Participating stores generated "strong" response for the advertised offers through both mobile and signage. There were more than 18,000 offer redemptions for the promoted items featured, with McChicken sales increasing 8 percent and McNuggets rising 7.5 percent from the previous month.

"Based on our current performance, we plan to expand our coupon efforts across multiple day-parts through Piper so we can continue to measure consumer response. We're also adding additional Piper beacons to push employment offers and customer satisfaction surveys, both of which are having early success," Pezold said.

For more
-See this Kontakt.io case study
-See this Piper press release

Related stories:
McDonald's announces initial steps of turnaround plan
McDonald's tests customized food orders
McDonald's accepting lovin' as payment
In-store app usage 16x higher with beacons
Walgreens launches iBeacon pilot

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