Asda and Starbucks trialling targeted mobile ads

Starbucks and Asda are exploring the use of location-based marketing and have been trialling targeted mobile advertising campaigns to boost customer engagement.

Working alongside mobile ad tech firm xAd, the retailers said they have been able to create greater brand awareness and increase store traffic through the use of this emerging area of mCommerce.

US company xAd says its technology allows retailers to measure return on investment in terms of mobile ad spend, as it monitors the increase in foot traffic as a direct result of each campaign. The UK trials represent the vendor's latest move to take its technology outside of the US, where it has already established a range of clients.

Chris Chalmers, head of digital marketing at Asda, remarked: "The trial has shown us the true potential for location-based campaigns.

"Early results show a real lift in store visits and we can see the impact of specific promotions which is critical in the run-up to Christmas."

Meanwhile, Starbucks positions itself as a mobile innovator and is often among the first retail establishments to roll out new mobile technology. Over 10% of its global sales come via its mobile wallet, which combines loyalty and payments, while it has been among the first chains to introduce wireless mobile charging hotspots in its stores.

For more information on strategies in mobile and innovation, people can visit RBTE 2015's conference to hear Starbucks EMEA IT director Robert Teagle address delegates and tell the company's story. The event takes place at London's Olympia between 10-11 March 2015.

Commenting on the company's latest mobile innovation investment, Ian Cranna, VP for marketing & category EMEA at Starbucks, said the business "strongly believe[s]" in the use of mobile to engage potential and existing customers.

He noted: "We aim to deliver relevant content at the right time and through xAd's proximity targeting, mobile gives us the unique ability to do that while providing insight on the content that resonates most."

A recent survey of European retailers by Essential Retail and mobile operators association GSMA found that grocers were more likely than other retailers to consider using iBeacon-like services to engage customers when in their shops.

When retailers were asked which services they would consider offering customers via mobile inside a store, Wi-Fi access was the most popular response (79%), while 58% said they would look to use mobile to offer their customers help while they are shopping. Some 56% of them are willing to allow customers to access their loyalty accounts on mobiles during the in-store journey.

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