Hong Kong mobile carrier SmarTone has introduced a proximity marketing service that allows retailers send promotional messages to customers with an Android or iOS device using Bluetooth.
SmarTone said the aim of the service, dubbed ST Beacon, is to help retailers better engage customers and increase sales.
It allows tailored messages to be delivered at a retailer’s store – from welcome messages, to prompts for new arrivals, small-area promotional messaging, or even product information in close proximity to a product on display.
“ST Beacon points to the possibility of a virtual shopping assistant, helping forward-looking retailers to enhance their service to customers in a cost-efficient manner,” SmarTone CEO Douglas Li said.
A retailer’s customer could download the retailer’s app from App Store or Google Play.
The ST Beacon and all apps supporting it are open to users of all cellular networks in Hong Kong, and not limited to SmarTone customers. The apps also support Wi-Fi connectivity.
A customer visiting the ST Beacon participating retailer’s store will receive up-to-date information, including product highlights and promotional offers, even if the app is in the background or closed, as long as the Bluetooth function is switched on.
ST Beacon employs Bluetooth technology and is compatible with Bluetooth Low Energy, and Bluetooth 2.1 and 3.0, providing compatibility with a wide range of Android and iOS smartphones in use today.
“Bluetooth Low Energy technology is increasingly adopted in smartphones, allowing Bluetooth to be permanently switched on with very low power consumption,” Li noted. “This opens up huge potential for innovation in cloud-enabled location-based services that can be highly tailored, effective and cost efficient.”
ST Beacon is currently in beta testing with a new SmarTone application called Red Pass Delights which provides users with special offers from a handful of retailers, including Red Ant restaurants and Ant One casual dining, Oliver’s Super Sandwiches, Espressamente Illy and Cova.