Beacon Technology Is Coming to Lord & Taylor, Hudson's Bay

Planning to visit a Lord & Taylor soon? Get ready for some online/offline mobile engagement.
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Dhani Mau
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Planning to visit a Lord & Taylor soon? Get ready for some online/offline mobile engagement.
A beacon in place. Photo: Swirl

A beacon in place. Photo: Swirl

Beacon technology is getting a big endorsement from the retail industry. Starting Monday, Lord & Taylor stores in the U.S. and Hudson's Bay stores in Canada (both department store chains are owned by Canada's Hudson's Bay Company) will deploy in-store beacon marketing platforms to deliver branded content and personalized offers to consumers’ smartphones while they shop.

An example of the content a beacon might push to your phone.

An example of the content a beacon might push to your phone.

HBC is using a platform developed by Swirl, a company that has also helped retailers like Timberland and Kenneth Cole create in-store mobile experiences using beacon. (For a primer on how beacon technology works, read this.) Basically, there will be various beacons set up discreetly in multiple locations and departments within the stores. When you're near one of those beacons, targeted content -- like a feature about best-selling products nearby, or a sale that can be taken advantage of that day -- may pop up on your phone in the form of a push notification, but only if you opt in and are already using one of the retailer's apps, like the Lord & Taylor SnipSnap or Hudson’s Bay Gift Registry app.

The deployment marks a pretty big milestone for beacon technology, which is still a pretty novel idea for most. Hilmi Ozguc, founder and CEO of Swirl, calls this "the most ambitious application of beacon marketing in the retail industry to date." It's the first time we've seen well-recognized retail players test the technology on this scale. If it catches on with shoppers, and successfully increases conversion rates, we're sure they won't be the last.

Front page photo: Ben Hider/Getty