Mobiquity Releases Bluetooth Low Energy Beacon SDK for Retailers

With its Bluetooth Low Energy Beacon SDK, Mobiquity is encouraging the 3,000-plus retailers in its network to engage with shoppers through their smartphones.

Mobiquity Networks owns and operates the nation's largest location-based, mobile marketing-driven Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE) beacon network.

The BLE network covers 3,000 retailers with more than 15,000 storefronts and includes 100 "premier U.S. shopping malls," the company said in a March 25 statement, announcing the release of a BLE Beacon software development kit (SDK), designed to help retailers and brands take advantage of all the shopping opportunities within its network.

Technologies like Mobiquity's have the potential to help brick-and-mortar shops regain some of the sales lost to online shops, by offering shoppers some of the same incentives—coupons, limited-time offers, comparison pricing information, click-to-purchase options, the ability to quickly ask for help and more.

Apple's iBeacon network covers 254 stores and ShopKick has two Macy's locations and 100 American Eagle stores. Mobiquity, adding scale, said it presently services up to 120 million shopping visits per month.

"We now have the ability to give thousands of brands, retailers and social media platforms access to their fans through highly personalized and relevant engagements on their own mobile apps in very precise and valuable indoor locations," Mobiquity Technologies co-CEO Michael Trepeta said in a statement.

With the SDK, apps can be designed to offer proximity-based promotions from as far as 300 feet or as close as 1 foot. Apple uses iBeacon to offer various deals, including on an aisle-by-aisle (very close proximity) basis.

"We are excited to see Apple's iBeacon, PayPal's Beacon and other Bluetooth Low Energy Beacon products inside retail store locations," Trepeta added, "as this will give us the opportunity to further enhance the experience for all mobile apps that integrate our Beacon technology while in the common area."

Mobiquity said it enhances the effectiveness of proximity-based apps by "waking up dormant or inactive apps and providing "hyper-accurate proximity-based event data."

Apple, with its iOS 7.1 update, also added the ability for its software to look for in-store beacons even when the related apps aren't open—a feature that could make beacons more effective and more pleasant for users (who opt in) to engage with, by eliminating the step of having to take out a phone and turn on a relevant app when entering a store.

According to a March report from Swirl Networks, such technology has the potential to "significantly" influence purchasing. In a Swirl Networks study, 80 percent of participants said they'd use such an app more often if it delivered relevant promotional information; 79 percent said that over the previous six months, they'd made at least one purchase as a result of receiving a pushed promotional offer.

To get the best return on investment from beacon-based marketing, Swirl Networks CEO Hilmi Ozguc said in the report, "retailers much focus on delivering valuable, highly relevant content in real time."

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