CHICAGO: Hillshire Brands, the food manufacturer, has seen an improvement in several core brand metrics as a result of using beacon and geofencing technology to connect with consumers in retail stores.

The firm worked with BPN, its media agency, and inMarket, a company that operates a network of beacons – electronic transmitters capable of two-way communications with smartphones – on the recent in-store campaign.

"We started experimenting with location-based technologies and increased focus on mobile a year ago, recognising that location is key to engaging with our consumers," David Ervin, director of integrated marketing for Hillshire Brands, asserted on BPN's blog.

Its beacon-led effort, run for American Craft Link Sausages, was active from April to June in ten major markets across the US, and was aimed at members of the brand's primary target audience.

These shoppers were given the chance to receive digital coupons, add the sausages to their shopping list or earn points for engaging with the product.

Purchase intent among people exposed to campaign messaging rose 20 times, a figure 500% higher than the norm for mobile advertising engagement in the consumer packaged goods sector.

Brand awareness also leapt by 36% and the brand experienced a "lift in overall sales" as well. Fully 6,000 in-store engagements were recorded during the first 48 hours of the initiative alone, too.

One motivation behind the campaign was the knowledge that members of American Craft Link Sausages' customer base were becoming less likely to reclaim traditional printed coupons.

"By engaging with shoppers while they are in-store in a timely and relevant manner, we are elevating the conversation past seeing a traditional advertisement to shifting the discussion to include our clients into consumers' everyday actions," said Chris Hiland, chief growth officer at BPN.

As a result of this successful test, Hillshire Brands is planning to extend the beacon programme to a campaign for its Jimmy Dean brand later this year.

Data sourced from BPN; additional content by Warc