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Tired of the trialing tech

When I discovered Tesco had teamed up with Unilever to trial iBeacon technology in 270 of its ‘Express’ stores, with offers for Magnum’s latest Black and Pink ice-creams, I found myself strangely sceptical of the idea.

Here’s how it works: Transmitters detect nearby smartphones. If the relevant retailer’s app has been downloaded onto your phone, the technology pinpoints your exact location allowing retailers to send special offers to you as you walk past their goods.

This partnership will mean that Tesco customers, who have downloaded the Mpulse app, will receive offers for Magnum’s new ice creams when they pass a participating Tesco store.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for new technology (I am a millennial and it would be an understatement to say I’m attached to my phone!) I was holding out for retailers to catch onto this new targeted technology… I even wrote a blog about ‘Emerging technologies in the retail sector’ earlier this year.

But it’s been nearly two years since this tech launched and whilst retailers including; John Lewis, Waitrose, Asda and even Walmart and Macy’s have trialled iBeacon technology. It hasn’t ever really gone past the trial stage.

I’m not sceptical about the latest trial between Tesco & Magnum, I see the sense there. Magnum are building on their brand promise to deliver ‘pleasure’ and let’s face it who wouldn’t want an exclusive offer on their new ice creams? (Sign me up!) It’s also another great way for Tesco to start rebuilding their brand, directly connecting with their customers.

But in terms of Beacon Technology - has anyone actually downloaded an app and used iBeacon technology? Have you? There’s been a lot of talk around Beacon technology but I question when, and if, it will actually take off. I for one don't want to have to download a host of apps for every retailer that could offer me a promotional discount. Until iBeacon technology streamlines its service I am doubtful about how long lived its success might be. 

By Lauren Harris, Research Executive

This entry was tagged Consumer, Shopping, Mobile, Mobile data, Millenials, Engagement, Technology, Mobile research and posted on June 23, 2015

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