TORONTO: Bricks-and-mortar retailers could increase footfall and improve the shopping experience for consumers by combining beacon technology and parking apps.

HotSpot, a Canadian mobile parking payment solution and proximity marketing company, partnered with beacon provider to contact shoppers in parking lots and then track behaviour at nearby retail locations.

They found that 30% of those people using a HotSpot parking app entered a HotSpot-enabled store and then stayed up to 13% longer than average.

This was made possible by the perks that retailers can offer HotSpot users, including free parking, extra validation, and protection from getting tickets, all of which makes for a more relaxed shopper and greater opportunities for local businesses to close sales and gain new customers.

A HotSpot white paper claimed that this approach could balance the needs of cities, retailers and consumers.

"By looking at parking as more than just an end-point for revenue generation and more as something that can be used to start a conversion process of discovery and delight, HotSpot parking has ended up creating a startlingly effective channel for driving foot traffic into stores and businesses," said Kontakt.

In fact, it suggested that 85% of shoppers were more likely to shop somewhere that offers exclusive in-store promotions, something that this combination of app and beacon appears well-placed to offer North American shoppers who typically drive to malls.

But not every mall charges drivers to park and most drivers are in any case more likely to be searching for a parking space in the first instance than worrying about paying for that parking.

A more immediately convincing case for using beacons and apps came from Carrefour. The multinational retailer recently trialled adding proximity and context to its app with beacons in one store, with new features including purchase suggestions and coupons, and saw the application's engagement rocket.

Over a seven month period, Carrefour reported that the number of app users leapt 600% while the time spent on using the app increased 400%.

The proximity data generated also gave Carrefour valuable information on how customers were navigating the store, enabling it to improve the store offer and further build customer loyalty.

Data sourced from Kontakt; additional content by Warc staff