Mobile app makes shopping a breeze

2016-05-18 06:00
Baywest Mall shopper Azola Tybosch is greeted by the Skybird-powered app which aims to connect customers and retailers in real time, providing personalised information to app users about their favourite brands, stores and specials. Photo: SUPPLIED

Baywest Mall shopper Azola Tybosch is greeted by the Skybird-powered app which aims to connect customers and retailers in real time, providing personalised information to app users about their favourite brands, stores and specials. Photo: SUPPLIED

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New technology being piloted at Baywest Mall sees stores able to communicate tailored deals to customers with smartphones as they walk the mall, and at the same time giving retailers key insights into shopper behaviour.

Stellenbosch-based Skybird Technologies has launched an integrated software platform called ONE, which makes use of specialised Gimbal proximity beacons. In a first for South Africa, this specialised beacon technology is used via a downloadable app which shoppers can use to locate special offers and sales involving their favourite brands. Some 300 Gimbal proximity beacons have been deployed throughout Baywest Mall.

The technology learns shopper preferences over time and also makes key information available to retailers, helping them understand customer behaviour – from dwell time in store, time spent in various parts of the store, and what percentage of app users end up buying products, known as the conversion ratio.

According to Skybird director Kyle Porter, SA retailers have until now only been able to gather such key customer insights by unpacking information from loyalty programmes, measuring shoppers through foot-counters, data from the parking pay stations, and also from Wi-Fi.

The platform being piloted at Baywest Mall could be tailored to handle other aspects of the shopping and retail experience, said Porter.

“This technology is going to be a game-changer for SA retail,” said Porter. “Already major national brands are very excited about being able to interact directly with their customers, rather than wait for their customers to touch base with them online or via social media.

“And the ability to know that I’m in your store before getting to your till opens up many possibilities to engage, up-sell and enhance my experience with a personalised offer at just the right time.”

Baywest managing director Gavin Blows said the biggest benefit was having control of all the data and the ability to leverage the unique understanding of shoppers’ movements, preferences and dwell times.

“This allows us to understand our tenant mix and traffic flow in a way that wasn’t possible before,” he said.

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