Norwich retailers bid to transform city centre with Proxama mobile technologies


As the Christmas shopping season gets underway, a Norwich-based company is incentivising shoppers to hit the high street via their smartphone. Working alongside Norwich Business Improvement District (BID), Proxama the global mobile proximity marketing, loyalty and NFC payments company has signed up 20 merchants in the retail, entertainment, leisure and hospitality sectors, to take part in a beta trial using mobile proximity marketing technologies to drive footfall to the city centre.

There will be several phases of this project, with Proxama taking consumer and merchant feedback on board to ensure that all parties are getting the most out of the technology. Proxama is working with leading Out of Home media owner Exterion Media and First Group buses to implement the project.

The Connected High Street project, which is one of the largest of its kind in the UK to date, will use popular mobile proximity technologies such as Bluetooth beacons, NFC and QR codes to create a personalised and relevant shopping experience by connecting consumers with participating merchants via their mobile. It is also the first of its kind to use beacon technology on buses. Passengers travelling into the city centre on First buses can choose to receive notifications while on the move to better plan their trip and take advantage of events taking place in Norwich.

The six month initiative will highlight the capabilities and opportunities mobile proximity services present to consumers and also demonstrate how local businesses can use a combination of these technologies to drive footfall in-store. Among the twenty participating businesses are Jarrolds, Castle Museum, Castle Mall, The Dog House Pub, Café Seven and Gingers.

Paul McCarthy, general manager, Castle Mall, said: “The internet has impacted the shopping experience as an increasing high percentage of retail sales are now completed online, meaning that shopping centres have had to evolve. People still like to go into a mall and see the physical product which is what makes this trial interesting. Proxama has helped us marry new technology with old fashioned customer service. If this means we can improve the shopping experience and help retailers engage with their customers and increase sales, it will benefit everybody.”

Centred on LOKA, a location-based app (available free on Android and iOS), shoppers can opt-in to the initiative by downloading the app and switching on their Bluetooth.  Once the app is enabled and consumers are in close proximity of a participating merchant or on a beacon enabled bus, the technology will trigger relevant content and exclusive offers straight to their smart device. Underpinned by Proxama’s TapPoint® platform, the number of notifications are monitored during the day and the app learns and tailors what future notifications to send, as the user interacts with them.

Stefan Gurney, executive director of Norwich BID, said: “This project is allowing us to explore some of the relevant technologies that consumers are beginning to integrate into their everyday lifestyle.  As the project evolves, we anticipate it will change the way we look at and use our city centre and provide our local merchants with the information they need to future-proof their business. Working with Proxama has allowed us to better understand these technologies and find the best way to educate our city centre visitors, on how to use them.”

Miles Quitmann, CCO, Proxama, said: “Incorporating mobile technologies into the shopping experience presents a real opportunity for retailers to engage with consumers and develop meaningful customer relationships. The project allows retailers to go beyond the initial interaction by personalising the consumer journey and by adapting offers and content to align with their customers’ needs, retailers can learn what works well to get shoppers in-store.  We will be evolving the project to learn whether consumers are willing to use new technologies and if so, how best to introduce, educate and integrate them into their lifestyles to ensure they reap the benefits.”

There will be several phases of this project with Proxama taking consumer and merchant feedback on board to ensure that all parties are getting the most out of the technology. Proxama has worked with experience design agency Foolproof, to understand what consumers want from this project, and will use the findings to develop the project, Foolproof, Norwich BID and ATCM.