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Urban Outfitters To Lure Back Key Market With Beacons
US multichannel fashion and homewares retailer Urban Outfitters is looking to use beacon technology to reconsolidate its youth market by incorporating beacon technology into its omnichannel in-store experience.
Urban Outfitters locations in Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Atlanta, New Jersey and Delaware will be rolling out beacons to interact with the brand’s app, favouring compatibility with Android devices over Apple as a differentiator to its competition. Of particular note is the app’s Urban On section, which offers loyal customers exclusive rewards and access to events. The platform that powers the beacons, Swirl, claims that over two thirds of its customers shop in-store with a smartphone, with its younger market favouring Google-powered devices.
“It’s not just about delivering coupons and offers,” Swirl Marketing VP Rob Murphy told AdWeek. “They already do a lot of things with mobile with their engagement and loyalty program and social media. One of the things they wanted to do was extend those experiences in-store using mobile.”
Urban Outfitters have nominated the entrance, the fitting room and the checkout as their three key focal points for beacon technology. When smartphone-equipped customers enter the store, a beacon will prompt them to check in via social media to unlock an exclusive offer. In the fitting room, smartphones will receive user-generated content about products, and shoppers will be prompted to take a selfie with their product to post on Instagram, with the hashtag #UOonYou earmarking it for potential use on the Urban Outfitters website. Finally at the checkout customers are prompted to shake their smartphone to produce their Urban ID loyalty card, earning them a digital badge.
Once a major shopping location for the free-thinking young adult looking to fill their room with ironic or political t-shirts or randomly curated tchotchkes, some believe that the brand has been tarnished by a history of introducing products that border on the fringes of acceptable taste. The last few months in particular have seen retail sales for the brand and its subsidiaries tumble, along with its share price; WSJ reported back in October that the brand had suffered with higher expenses and other challenges, with Urban Outfitters’ Tedford Marlow saying the company was in the “early innings” of improvement.
Getting up to speed with beacon technology will give their online channels greater exposure to customers in-store, and will aim to drive a new wave of interest in a flagging brand.