You may know Alpharetta, Georgia as a toney suburb of Atlanta. You probably didn’t know that it refers to itself as the Technology City of the South. As evidence the name is more than a hollow strapline, the city recently launched Alpharetta Visitor Rewards based on a locally developed shopping browser – Rately.
Rately was created as a shopping browser that works on multiple mobile and tablet platforms (it even offers a Chrome plug-in) and allows consumers to create a handy visual record of stores visited and products considered for purchase. Maybe the best part of the program for consumers is that they can sign up for free and shop anonymously. Yes, users can share their activity and favorite products via social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, but they can also choose to keep their activity private.
Building on this platform, Alpharetta Rewards was trialed over the 2014 holiday season, inviting consumers to earn points and other merchant-specific rewards, and to drive repeat visits for local merchants throughout the city. Any shopper can download the app and start their journey to great rewards by visiting participating merchants. The merchants themselves have a reasonably high degree of control in how they play in the program, being able to create an earning system based on visits, purchase amounts, or specific products. Rewards can be tailored by each merchant.
Beacon technology has linked program members and merchants for identification, offer delivery and more. Judging from news that over 80% of downtown retailers have joined the program, Alpharetta Rewards seems to be heading towards success as the first community-based loyalty program centered on the iBeacon. Alpharetta Visitor Rewards will be available across the five districts that span the city and you can learn more about the program at the Rately web site.
Where mobile marketing was the leading edge of proximity marketing only 2 years ago, it is now considered a “must have” by most retailers while the cradle of innovation sits more in the beacon space for 2015. Savvy business owners should take time to learn more about the marketing opportunities available via mobile and beacon technology, both of which have the potential to level the playing field between large and small merchants.