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Beacon pilot project: Posters interacted with passers-by at the Glatt shopping centre


"Guess why beacons" was the name of the two-week pilot launched by loyalty app poinz, Swisscom and out-of-home advertising company APG|SGA at the Glatt shopping centre in Wallisellen. The three partners piloted a new form of beacon technology.

Digitization is changing the world. This includes the retail sector and shopping centres. "In a few years' time, more than 75% of the workforce will belong to the demographic group known as millennials", says Robert Blum, CEO of poinz. Early interaction with computers and digital media has shaped the behaviour of this generation. And it can also be seen in the way they shop. "Going forward, the retail sector and shopping centres must specifically tailor communication to adequately meet the individual needs of these consumers", explains Blum.

The poinz loyalty app, Swisscom and APG|SGA launched a project at the beginning of the year to develop, pilot and implement future applications in the field of interactive campaigning. The aim of this project is to explore other methods of communication and attract customers. The plan being to exploit the overwhelming popularity of smartphones through interactive campaigning in order to link up brick-and-mortar stores with interactive communication tools. The two-week pilot project "Guess why beacons" was implemented from 29 March to 12 April 2016 in collaboration with fashion label Guess.

23 interactive posters – pilot project with a new form of beacon technology
A new form of beacon technology was used for the "Guess why beacons" pilot. Beacon technology is based on mini broadcasters that send out specific, clear signals with the help of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. The beacons do not store any data during this process. In and around Glatt shopping centre, 23 APG|SGA poster sites featuring a Guess campaign image and a reference to the project were fitted with a beacon for the purpose of the pilot. The Interact platform launched last year by Swisscom provided the technical basis for this application (keyword Location Based Services).

For communication between poster and potential customer to succeed, however, an additional transmitter is required. This is where the poinz app came in. Poinz is the Swiss market leader in digital customer retention. The loyalty app facilitates digital point collecting but also serves as a digital communication channel. During the "Guess why beacons" pilot, the activated app automatically provided passers-by with targeted cash vouchers for Guess when they passed an APG|SGA poster. For this to work, however, users had to authorize the poinz app to access their location in advance.

First step towards a smart mall
In the future, beacons will make in-store shopping as intelligent as cookies make online shopping, as they will introduce the benefits of online trading to brick-and-mortar stores. The use of Location Based Services also appears to be on the agenda for Swiss companies. A recent study by Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) and the University of St. Gallen on around 130 Swiss companies revealed that around one third use location-based and time-based communication services. Dorothea Schaffner, Professor at the Institute of Communication and Marketing at HSLU, adds: "Studies also show that consumers are open to such forms of communication provided there is a clear benefit to them". Andreas Ziltener, Professor of Entrepreneurial Management at the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) in Chur has every faith in beacon technology: "In the future, I can well imagine interactive systems such as beacon technology guiding customers effectively through a shopping centre using the shopping list on their mobile phone. Without a doubt, more and more shopping centres will become smart malls". The pilot project by poinz, Swisscom and APG|SGA represents a highly innovative and interesting step in this direction.

Pilot study: satisfied partners
All partners were pleased with the findings of the pilot. "As an innovation leader in the field of digital loyalty systems, we are interested in trying out different methods of customer retention and communication. This successful application of beacon technology offers our customers new, flexible and dynamic ways to reach consumers close to the point of sale", summarizes CEO Robert Blum, CEO of poinz.  

Swisscom Project Manager Joel Agard is also extremely pleased with the project: "We appreciate the uncomplicated and flexible cooperation with the start-up company poinz and with APG|SGA. We also gained important information that we will be able to incorporate into the further development of our Interact platform".

APG|SGA also recognizes the great potential of interactive posters: "Out-of-home advertising media can be used in a more targeted and interactive way via app and beacon technology". Individual infrastructures such as these ensure a flexible, mobile approach at highly frequented poster sites. Extending the communication chain offers the customer considerable added value as the advertising message reaches the target group at the right time and in the right place", explains Beat Holenstein, Head of Partner & Product Management.

As for Guess, did the piloted form of advertising meet expectations? "We can well imagine incorporating this innovative form of advertising into our communication strategy", reveals Peder Casanova, CEO of Guess Retail.

About the partners
Swisscom is Switzerland's leading telecoms company and one of the country's leading IT companies. It is head-quartered in Ittigen, close to the capital city Berne. Swisscom’s international activities are concentrated mainly in Italy, where its subsidiary Fastweb is one of the biggest broadband providers. Over 21,600 employees generate annual revenue of around CHF 11.6 billion per year. Swisscom is one of the most sustainable companies in Switzerland and Europe.

APG|SGA is Switzerland’s leading outdoor advertising company. Specializing in digital and analogue posters at busy locations, it covers all areas of Out of Home advertising together with its segment brands. Over 650 employees at 17 locations manage poster spaces and displays throughout Switzerland with great care and environmental responsibility.

poinz In the three years since it was first established in September 2012, this Swiss start-up company has grown into a market leader in the field of digital loyalty cards. Poinz stands for innovative, mobile business customer engagement based on a very simple, tried-and-tested principle – the physical loyalty card. Poinz has connected around 1,000 local businesses with over 150,000 customers via smartphone. This means that consumers have their loyalty card to hand at all times, while regional businesses as well as large national companies have a reliable and innovative tool to facilitate customer retention, new customer acquisition and targeted interaction with customers – all without having to provide personal data. The Company is headquartered in Zurich and employs 11 people. (

GUESS – Bollag Guggenheim AG Established in 1981, GUESS began as a jeans company and has since successfully grown into a global lifestyle brand. Today GUESS designs, markets, distributes and licenses a lifestyle collection of contemporary apparel, handbags, watches, footwear and other related consumer products. Throughout the years, the GUESS image has been portrayed in unforgettable, innovative campaigns that have made the brand a household name. GUESS products are available in branded GUESS stores as well as in leading department stores and boutiques around the world. The Company directly operates 488 retail stores in the United States and Canada, as well as more than 350 in Europe, Asia and Latin America. The Company’s licensees and distributors operate an additional 900 retail stores outside of the United States and Canada.  For more information about GUESS and its online shop please visit


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