Malls Send Geo-fencing Texts to Lure Shoppers to Stores

Mashable

Retailers aren’t the only ones pulling out the stops this year to lure more foot traffic into stores – shopping centers nationwide are doing the same by embracing geo-fencing technology.

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Retail real estate company DDR Corp., which owns hundreds of U.S. shopping centers, is using a location-based mobile marketing service at its 27 open-air malls across 16 markets to text deals from the retail tenants within those malls. But the real value of the program called ValuText is that it’s giving smaller businesses that don’t typically have the marketing budget the opportunity to compete against the bigger retailers.

ValuText powered by Placecast features geo-fencing technology, which is a virtual perimeter for a geographic area. DDR picks up when shoppers enter a mall’s border and those who have opted-in to the service receive text messages about sales and promotions happening in real time. The shopping center doesn’t charge its tenants for the service.

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Since geo-fencing technology is compatible with 92% of U.S. mobile phones – and doesn’t require downloading or activating an app – the initiative is reaching a broad audience. Geo-fencing technology is becoming increasingly popular in retail. For example, previous Placecast efforts have shown that 53% of participating shoppers have visited a specific retailer after receiving a location-based alert and 50% who stopped by a store prompted by a text said the visit was unplanned.

Although sales result metrics aren’t yet available for DDR’s ValuText program, small businesses are enjoying the successes of the service. Dana Robinson, an owner of the Pure Posh Salon at DDR's Village at Stone Oak shopping center in San Antonio, said the salon had previously tried using Groupon to offer deals to customers but has had greater success with ValuText.

"The new service does not force [her] customers to buy offers in advance, and the salon is able to update its offers for products or services as many times as needed," DDR said in a press release.

Should more shopping centers implement geofencing tools? What are some other ways small businesses can stand out in a crowded marketplace? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

This story originally published on Mashable here.

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