313@somerset road tests beacon-based indoor positioning technology for retail

313@somerset is the first mall in Singapore to road test the mobile technology to help connect customers to relevant content and promotions in real-time at participating retailers in the shopping mall.

Screenshots of the Tring 313 mobile app when the user receives a notification, and the promotion on offer.

Screenshots of the Tring 313 mobile app when the user receives a notification, and the promotion on offer.

313@somerset has its eyes set on Beacon-based Indoor Positioning,the latest in retail innovation that enable shoppers to receive hyper-targeted messages, deals and other content based on their proximity to the offering retailer inside the mall.

As a forerunner in the adoption of new and emerging technologies, 313@somerset is set to pave the way by being the first commercial outlet in Singapore to test out the potential of Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Beacons for retailers, including messaging targeted at specific mall and store locations, analytics and potentially payments.

In partnership with technology partner Sprooki, the mall conducted test trials in the form of short experiential tours around the mall and exclusive test groups were invited to take part in the trials.

“Proximity matters to multi-channel retailers. However, precise location detection and hyper-targeted messaging has been a challenge indoors. BLE Beacons changes the game for multi-channel retailers, bringing the best of location targeting and web-like analytics to both retailers and shoppers, providing those who want it, with a more relevant and information-rich shopping experience,” says Claire Mula, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Sprooki.

These were designed to give shoppers an immersive firsthand experience of the BLE features, with a focus on relevant, accurate indoor messaging and deals.

The project also helped 313@somerset understand the viability and experience of BLE Beacons, a technology compatible with an estimated 49% of Singapore smartphone users today.

Selected 313@somerset retailers across fashion, lifestyle and F&B categories participated in the tests with Beacons being installed at specific points across different floors and positions within the mall.

The mall’s existing mobile app (powered by Sprooki’s platform), Tring 313, was also upgraded to be compliant with BLE Beacon technology, including Apple’s iBeacon, to deliver a more authentic taste of what this indoor positioning technology and the app can potentially do for both shoppers and retailers.

Tring 313 mobile app

Developed in partnership with Sprooki and launched in 2012, Tring 313 is a location-based mobile app that consolidates offers and deals exclusive to 313@somerset.

“The idea of conducting this Indoor Positioning closed beta group testing with Tring 313 came with the acknowledgement of Singapore’s increasingly technology-savvy society and highly digital landscape, where smartphones, tablets, laptops and other mobile devices serve as platforms for access to news, social feeds, information etc,” says Cheryl Goh, General Manager of 313@somerset.

When within the vicinity of the mall, the app alerts shoppers with “push notifications” that offer news, deals, and promotions in the form of “coupons”.

It was the first retail mobile app in Singapore then to be equipped with location-based technology and mCommerce capabilities, and has since won two Mobile Excellence (Mob-Ex) Awards in 2013 for Best Location-based Marketing and Best mCommerce Platform.

Insights on 313@somerset’s shopper profile were the key catalyst for Tring 313’s inception.

The decision to take an industry lead with Beacon-based Indoor Positioning comes as a natural progression for 313@somerset and a natural fit for its hyper-connected shoppers.

Potential Benefits of Indoor Positioning to 313@somerset Shoppers

Beacon-based Indoor Positioning promises more relevant and personalised messaging delivered at convenient times.

“In the near future, we want to be able to direct our shoppers to hyper targeted messages when they shop at 313@somerset, and also custom offers that better complement their purchases. Beacon-based Indoor Positioning has demonstrated potential in delivering just that”, says Goh.

313@somerset offers shoppers a wide range of deals and promotions through their current mobile app Tring 313.

These offers span across three key retail categories – fashion, food and lifestyle.

When coupled with Beacon-positioning, deals and promotions will be filtered and relevant messages will reach desired shopper audience as they pass by participating stores, allowing them to conveniently pick up deals along their intended route; or when they are in the store itself, to deliver a more engaging experience with real time offers and deals.

To redeem a promotion, simply show the shop’s staff the app on your smartphone and the staff will key in the shop’s redemption code to close the sale. I found the whole process is simple and straightforward for both the shopper and the shop.

To redeem a promotion, simply show the shop’s staff the app on your smartphone and the staff will key in the shop’s redemption code to close the sale. I found the entire process is simple and straightforward for both the shopper and the shop.

Shoppers will be able to enjoy instant gratification and greater relevancy in messaging and deals.

These are the qualities our information-rich, time-scarce, and experience-hungry generation will greatly appreciate.

Beacon-based Indoor Positioning – How it works

The technology offers immense potential for 313@somerset’s retailers, as well as increasingly
technologically savvy and connected shoppers.

“The line between in-store and online will continue to blur with the growing demands for a seamless shopping experience across platforms. Closed beta group testing is in place as we speak, to gauge how intuitive the new Tring 313 experience is, and how shoppers engage with the new Indoor Positioning technology,” Goh adds.

It uses battery-operated Beacon devices, the size of a thumb-drive, to emit low-energy Bluetooth signals with an identifier for that particular Beacon.

These signals communicate directly with BLE Bluetooth compatible devices, such as a smartphone or tablet.

Beacons themselves do not track devices; they emit a signal to the device to do something. An app is required for a mobile device to ‘see’ a Beacon.

When placed throughout the mall or store, BLE Beacons are detected by shoppers’ mobile devices, provided their Bluetooth and Location Services preferences are turned on.

“新加坡的 313@somerset 购物中心正在试探利用室内 Beacon-based positioning technology,把促销折扣更贴切地实时知会顾客。我今天试用后,觉得方便易用,相当有潜质。” – 科技点心(微薄)

Shoppers, who have the Tring 313 app (beta version) and opted in, may subsequently receive alert notifications within one to five meters from the nearest Beacon.

A much tighter range compared to the current Tring 313 app which utilizes a mix of GPS, cell tower triangulation and Wi-Fi access points to alert shoppers within a 50m to 400m radius outside the mall.

Potential Benefits of Indoor Positioning to 313@somerset Retailers

Pin-pointing shoppers’ locations inside stores and malls enables more accurate, relevant and timely messaging for those who wish to receive it i.e. opt-in.

“This landmarks another initiative by 313@somerset to stay at the forefront of retail technologies, serving up unique and memorable shopper experiences, with innovation as one of the primary driving forces behind our digital pursuits,” concludes Goh.

The technology may also grant retailers invaluable traffic analytics and insights such as shopper footpath, dwell time, frequency of visit, repeat vs new users, and in-mall density (provided shoppers opt-in).

Access to dynamic and accurate information paired with personalised, opt-in messages, deployed at the right time allows for service and product customization, ultimately translating into greater response (e.g. store walk-ins and sales conversions).

Over time, better insights can lead to more enduring brand loyalty. Indoor Positioning may prove to aid retailers in areas such as the physical store experience and visits, brand association and sales conversions.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “313@somerset road tests beacon-based indoor positioning technology for retail”

  1. Jane Lim says:

    Interesting! Is the app available yet?

    • tech4tea says:

      The app has been available since 2012, sending out messages about offers and promotions. But it was based on GPS and Wi-Fi positioning outdoors and targeted towards bringing shoppers that are outside 313 to go there. The new functionality is the indoor positioning which is under beta testing now and may be released in the next 3-6 months. It’s for shoppers that are already in the mall – and it sends alerts to you when you’re near the shop offering the promotions.

Leave a Reply