Category Archives: retail CRM

iBeacons – Retailers Are Still Experimenting

Walking down Carnaby Street yesterday morning, my iPhone buzzed with notification from Lyle & Scott, the fashionable young menswear brand who have a store on the street. I’d not realised at the time, but Lyle & Scott had just announced an iBeacon pilot with iconeme.


I’ve blogged before about why retailers don’t need to rush into iBeacons. The technology works fine. Provided shoppers have downloaded the appropriate app (either the retailer’s own or multi-retailer service such as iconeme) and have their bluetooth switched on, messages can be reliably sent and received.

The real issue is that very few retailers have enough customer insight to generate personalised,  contextual, location and time sensitive messages to their clients. Those that don’t, risk quickly losing goodwill on the back of untargeted push notifications.

Lyle & Scott has a lovely shop on Carnaby Street but the iBeacon implementation tries to both encourage footfall and push people to their website at the same time.  When you approach within about 15m of the store, here’s the notification you get:

iBeacon notification
iBeacon notification

20% off is a good offer but I’d have preferred a more personal call to action such as a free glass of champagne. I was also a bit confused by the request to launch the app. If I’m standing outside the store, there’s little value in having me looking at my phone when maximum focus should be on getting me inside to touch and feel the merchandise.

The typo is a shame and there are a couple of other inaccurate links that let down the experience.

When I opened the app, I was shown the new season merchandise.

iconeme product menu

You can drill down on a single garment within the iconeme app.

iconeme product page

From this page, you can share or forward the item. Alternatively, if you hit the bag icon, you are directed to the appropriate product page on the Lyle & Scott mobile site.

Well, almost the right page.

Lyle Scott product page

Some mistake here? I tried with another item.

Here in the iconemen app….

iconeme product page 2

… and now in the Lyle & Scott site. It’s changed colour again.

lyle scott product page 2

Once you leave the iBeacon zone, the iconeme app forgets everything and presents a blank screen.

iconeme 3

This reinforces the location-centric element of the proposition – if you’re not outside the shop, you can’t see the content – but misses an opportunity to sell to people later in the day; maybe when they are in a more relaxed mood and more open to online shopping.

These snagging issues are easily fixed.

What brands will find much harder, is to develop best practice usage of iBeacon messaging so that shoppers value and welcome each contact. Otherwise, they may simply turn off the bluetooth and opt out.

Working with cross-industry platforms should help retailers get the user experience right first time and I’d be interested to see some learnings from iconeme’s long standing iBeacon pilots at Hawes & Curtis and elsewhere.







If a Mannequin Could Talk…. (part two)

Everyone’s talking about iBeacons but remarkably few retailers have the retained customer intelligence needed to make use of them. The technology has no value to a business that simply doesn’t possess the capability to come up with a useful, location-based message.

I’ve posted before about iBeacons. This is an interesting new technology that can help retailers communicate time and location based information to their customers.

I walked past the Hawes and Curtis store in Jermyn Street this morning. It’s my favourite shirt shop. It is also a trial site for the Iconeme iBeacon product.

If you look at the windows, there’s a very strong promotional message based. It’s January, after all.

Jermyn Street window, January 2015
Jermyn Street window, January 2015

As I was looking at the sale poster, my phone pinged with quite a different proposition.

iBeacon "push" message, January 2015, Jermyn Street
iBeacon “push” message, January 2015, Jermyn Street

Welcome to our store. Good, I like that.

Launch our app. Why? I’m outside the store. What’s the point of opening an app when I’ve got the merchandise within reach. Invite me in!

New collection. Eh? The windows have ten foot tall messages about the sale. Why not remind me about the bargains to be found inside?

My guess is that the head office marketing team are excited about the new collection and want to tell everyone about it. Meanwhile, the retail operation has stock to clear.

Joining up departments and joining up customer messaging will be vital if iBeacons aren’t to become a high-tech turn-off.