Mobile app sends store offers to shoppers walking By

A new mobile app has harnessed Apple's iBeacon technology to bring a digital marketing tool to the traditional bricks-and-mortar world.

OfferMoments is a mobile app that sends shoppers real-time offers via Bluetooth as they walk past shops, restaurants, and cafes. Upon opening the app, shoppers discover how many meters away the offer is and how many minutes they have left before it expires.

And it's starting to take off, with The Coffee Club, Event Cinemas, City Beach and Accor Hotels all getting on board.

According to TechCrunch, shoppers are 16 times more likely to enter a store using their smartphone after receiving a localized message, so could this technology change things for savvy retailers that are looking to beat the online competition or add a little spark to their brands?

Or could this technology compromise your shopping privacy?

OfferMoments Director Mark Jones doesn't think so. "We actually hope users will appreciate the app helping them to be aware of relevant offers, rather than the user being subjected to high levels of spam we now see in email or TV ads," he said. "With these particular ads they often have no opportunity to act in real time on the offer."

"And privacy on the app is not an issue... with the app only responding to your personal settings. So the user stays in control."

Apps like OfferMoments listen out for signals that are transmitted by small beacons attached to shopfronts or countertops, prompting personalized messages sent directly to a smartphone or tablet.

Previous location-based technology sent messages via GPS or WiFi with indoor spaces, often blocking cell signals and making the technology ineffective for many retailers.

Mr. Jones explained that apps using location-based technology would have shoppers manually opening the app and waving their phone around like a metal detector to get a cell signal.

"Instead, the latest mobile phone operating system allows us to wake up the app even when the screen is locked - to send offers irrespective of whether a consumer is inside a shopping center or walking down the street. Our users then don't miss out on offers they might be interested in."

OfferMoments is current available for Apple iOS with an Android app scheduled for an early 2015 release.