Swirl Networks, AccuWeather partner on mobile location marketing

Dive Brief:

  • Swirl Networks and AccuWeather are working together on a mobile marketing initiative that relies on real-time weather data to create customized in-store promotions. They want to help retailers and brands drive sales using local weather data like temperature, precipitation, harmful sun rays and pollen count, according to a statement.
  • For example, a drugstore can use Boston-based Swirl’s technology to alert shoppers that pollen and allergen counts are rising and to provide special offers on allergy medicines. Swirl’s mobile presence marketing platform uses indoor location signals including Bluetooth beacons, WiFi and visible light communications that transmit data using LEDs to track a smartphone user’s movements in a store.
  • AccuWeather's datasets include weather forecasts for more than 2 million locations worldwide. Weather targeting can reach mobile audiences that use an app by the retailer, AccuWeather or any third party that works with Google's beacon services and Google Nearby notifications. 

Dive Insight:

Merchants know that weather conditions have a profound effect on shopper traffic, whether it’s a brick-and-mortar store or e-commerce site. As retailers struggle to compete with lower prices and the convenience of online competitors like Amazon, they need to leverage the immediacy they provide to shoppers while they're in the store and pairing weather with hyper-local engagements could increase the relevancy of those engagements.

As Swirl also points out, retailers need a way to compete with Amazon’s personalization capabilities, which are based on the massive amounts of data the e-commerce giant has collected about its customers’ purchases, product searches, clicks, reviews and email responses. Technologies that interact with shoppers through their smartphones are a major step toward offering a more customized experience that not only takes into account past shopping behaviors but can also leverage contextual data like location and weather.

There has been a lot of interest in hyper-local engagements on mobile over the past few years. Beacons hit the scene with a big splash with the introduction of Apple's iBeacons but beacon technology has hit some snags while also facing competition from numerous other technologies offering similar benefits, such as WiFi and visible light communications. 

Meanwhile, shoppers are very aware of the technologies used by retailers, with about two-thirds of consumers saying they would choose one store over another based on in-store technology, according to a study of U.K. shoppers published this month by Fujitsu Services Ltd. Its survey found that four out of 10 consumers are often disappointed by technology offered in stores. In addition, 70% of respondents said they can get better — and quicker — product information through their smartphones than through technology that store employees use. Closing that reliability gap could make a significant difference for retailers looking to tap into emerging technologies.

Filed Under: Campaigns Mobile marketing trends Tech and platform developments
Top image credit: AccuWeather