If you have been to 313@somerset, you might have heard about the Tring 313 app. It has been around since 2012. What do you think if it can now prompt you to a promotion when you are near a shop, and the promotion is a unique one that only the app can offer? Will you use this kind of app?
Currently, 313@somerset is conducting trials to a few groups of people on this Beacon technology. I am one of the few lucky ones to try it out.
What is Beacon Technology?
In simple explanation, it is like a lighthouse transmitting light so that ships can noticed it. In the Beacon Technology that 313@somerset is trying out, it uses low energy Bluetooth (BLE) signal to notified shoppers in the vicinity who has the app. It does not store shoppers information. It is configured to send out curated information to the shoppers nearby with the app. The proximity and frequency of when the shopper receive the information can be customized.
This strange looking thing (above picture) is actually the Beacon. You can see them around some shops this week (while they are running trials) but without the right app (trial 313 Tring app), you will not be able to use it. Basically, working as a transmitting, it will be pushing information (offers, welcome message and etc) to your phone via your app. You do not need to turn on the app.
Here is my experience.
Walking near Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL), I got an offer from the store. I can get a free drink! You can either ignore it or “get now”.
Once you selected “Get Now”, it will be in your discount tab in the app. The coupon might be a time-limited offer and it is based on the merchant (customizable).
To redeem the coupon, just select it and click on “REDEEM”. It will prompt another page where the cashier will need to key in the Redemption Code (it is a code used by the Merchant Store).
That is it. It is very simple. The same process for all other merchants participating in the trial.
Usually, this e-Coupon is for one time usage. Here is how it looks like after you used it.
The perks of being a trial user is that you get to try the app and get free stuffs! Here is a free notebook from MUJI. During the redemption, I tried to be a nasty user by not allowing the cashier to touch my phone. As expected, they can key in the redemption code without taking over the phone.
Here are some of the guys that were at the trial.
Questions and Thoughts
Actually, there were a lot of questions and thoughts during and after the trial.
First of all, when will 313@sommerset roll out this new feature on their app?
The answer is not clear. It is dependent on the trials which are extended to the media and 313 club members. They will need to evaluate the feedback and survey after our trials.
Next, who will actually use this app?
In my opinion, as long as the app is not intrusive and the deals from the apps are unique and value-added as compared to the walk-ins customers, it might work.
What else can this Beacon Technology be used?
I remembered reading a forum or article on Gardens by the Bay. Someone actually complained that the device used for the guide of one of the attraction is very low tech. I can imagine the Beacon being used instead.
When a visitor is near an attraction, it can prompt the visitor to listen to an audio or a link where more information about the attraction can be read. In this way, the visitor is free to roam around the area and still get the correct information because of the Beacon technology.
Unfortunately, there is no release date or even if it will eventually be released. For those who are in the US, you might realize some stores are already using similar technology. If you think this technology can or cannot help in enhancing the shopping mall, do let me a note. I will be interested to know.