UK city to run NFC, QR and BLE shopper marketing pilot

ENGAGEMENT: Beacons will provide retail information, discounts and loyalty services

Proximity commerce specialist Proxama has partnered with the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) and Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) to run a shopper marketing pilot in the UK city of Norwich.

Proximity engagement points that use NFC, QR codes and Bluetooth beacons will be located around the city to enable shoppers to discover and purchase new products, as well as sign up for incentives such as coupons, discounts and loyalty services. Locations will include out-of-home media (OOH) and transit-based media so that merchants can engage with consumers travelling into and around the city.

The service will be based on Proxama’s TapPoint platform and will provide local businesses with a way to engage with their customers through a Norwich City Aggregation Wallet as well as offer them the opportunity to build their own mobile app.

Proxama has been awarded funding of £99,960 by the Technology Strategy Board to run the pilot.

“What we’re really looking at is the future of the high street and how the users interact with the city centre, and this really was the opportunity to link up with smartphone technology and start to future proof the city,” Stefan Gurney, executive director at Norwich BID, told NFC World+.

“In the first stage, I think the aspiration is to work with either a key area or a few selected businesses or retailers because the funding is for a pilot, it’s not for a fully-developed scheme, and I think that will be the aspiration of the second element of it when we can then push it to a wider, larger demographic or a larger geographical area. There is a timeframe based on it by the funding so it is a six-month window.

“We sit on the national board of the ATCM and British BIDs so we’re a national player and, hopefully, if this is something that’s proven and transferable, then the BID would be a large advocate of it and would work with the ATCM to help push this into other cities.”

“We are at the stage where we’re developing the propositions that are going to work really well for small merchants, particular locations, malls and big merchants,” added Neil Garner, CEO of Proxama. “We want to make this successful because we don’t want this to be a pilot that happens and then disappears.

“It’s a pilot to prove it, to fine tune what works and what doesn’t work and close those bits down so then we will have something that we can actually roll out to value for all parties going forward.

“Most technology people tend to jump on the next big thing; there’s been a lot of hype around iBeacon and lots of speculation about Bluetooth being better than NFC, but actually, the hard cold fact is is that they’re complementary to each other.”

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