With One App, Swirl Delivers Location-Based Ads From Multiple Retailers

By Cameron Scott 

location based advertising, m-commerce, mobile commerce, e-commerceSwirl today launched an eponymous app that retailers can use to deliver targeted content and offers to consumers while they shop in their stores.

Timberland, Kenneth Cole, Exhale Spa and several others began using the platform in New York and Boston stores.

“We think Swirl creates a really exciting way to enhance the shopping experiences of our customers, on their terms. It also gives us valuable, real-time insights so we can hone in on – and better serve – our customers’ needs,” said Jim Davey, Vice President of Global Brand Marketing at Timberland.

Geolocation has been a much coveted tool for marketers since it first became widely used in smartphones. But marketers have struggled to make full use of its commercial potential, due in part to the need for either free-standing apps or for the tools on a major platform to serve up their ads.

Swirl represents a novel solution: A free-standing app downloaded by the consumer that allows multiple retailers to deliver content. Swirl, available for iOS only, also gives sellers the option of appending its functionality to their own apps.

The location capability stems from Bluetooth sensors that Swirl provides. Retailers place the battery-powered, connection-free sensors around their stores. The sensors detect when a Swirl user is within range and trigger delivery of content that can be customized for that user based on his or her previous interactions with the app.

Of course, another problem with location-based advertising is privacy.

According to a survey conducted for Swirl, four in five female shoppers said they would be willing to share their location information in exchange for an offer, and three in five would be thrilled to do so. The survey didn’t provide results for male shoppers.

A previous version of the Swirl app featured fashion sales and offers that the consumer simply sorted through. Those offers are still available in today’s update.