STORES Magazine - April 2015 - (Page 46)

n IT Eat More Fries McDonald's franchisee uses beacon technology to attract Millennials by ED McKINLEY B luetooth's usefulness as a marketing tool isn't limited to offers, discounts and coupons; the technology is also fostering two-way communication between retailers and customers. It's a dialogue that McDonald's franchisees hope will prove particularly appealing to the tech-obsessed Millennial generation. Take the case of Jack Pezold, owneroperator of 22 McDonald's restaurants and a veteran of 40 years with the chain. "Everyone is looking at their phones, Millennials especially, and that's where we've decided to engage," says Pezold, who is using Bluetooth low-energy beacon technology in locations in Columbus, Ga. The hardware and the technology behind it come from Piper, which touts its system as "beacon deployment as a service," says CEO Robert Hanczor. The system is based on Bluetooth radio signals that enable communication among devices at close range, but it takes the familiar forms of text messaging and social media updates. Piper provides marketing materials to alert customers to the beacon technology, including promotional information on store and drive-through menu boards and at the point of sale. Customers are urged to download a smartphone application to begin receiving electronic messages from the restaurants. Customers receive messages only when they're at the restaurant, and not too frequently to become a nuisance. "Consumers want information from the restaurants they patronize," Hanczor says, "but they also want to have that communication limited." Unless the content changes, customers receive only one message per month. IMMEDIATE PROMOTIONS Piper and the McDonald's co-op began their beacon deployment with what some might consider a standard way of using the technology - offering a discount on food. The Apple Passbook promotion worked: McChicken sales increased 8 percent and sales of McNuggets increased 7.5 percent from the previous month, Pezold says. "Participating stores are generating strong response for the advertised offers through both mobile and signage, showing more than 18,000 offer redemptions for the promoted items featured," he says. That kind of response isn't lost on other retailers, who are recognizing the importance of that sort of marketing. "A promotion they can redeem immediately has a lot of value and that builds loyalty with customers," says Hanczor. After the food discount promotion, the restaurants entered more unfamiliar territory. They sent a survey to customers' smartphones, asking them to rate food quality, cleanliness and service. The questions give diners an opportunity to express themselves and help management correct problems. "Participating stores are generating strong response for the advertised offers through both mobile and signage, showing more than 18,000 offer redemptions for the promoted items featured." - Jack Pezold, McDonald's 46 STORES April 2015 NRF.COM/STORES http://www.NRF.COM/STORES

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - April 2015

A Most Complex Game
It's All Connected
Retail People
Selling Satisfaction
Editor's Page
President's Page
Retail Politics
NRF News
NRF Communities Update
End Cap
Business Operations
Online Fraud

STORES Magazine - April 2015