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Craft Brewery Uses Beacons to Draw Customers to Its Taps

Schlafly's app employs Juxtad's TapTalker technology to send push notifications to individuals who come within range of a beer tap fitted with a beacon.
By Claire Swedberg

For Juxtad, says Martin Howell, the company's co-founder, the hardware challenge related to beacon deployments involves finding a spot at which beacons can be affixed that does not disrupt the aesthetics of a business or other location, and where no one will tamper with them. He notes that beacons are sometimes vandalized or removed when they are highly visible. In addition, because the beacons would be installed onsite at businesses that are Schlafly's clients, the devices needed to be deployed discretely, without requiring installation and servicing by those clients.

The solution, Howell says, is a beacon developed by Juxtad and manufactured for the company by third-party manufacturers. The TapTalker beacon attaches directly to a beer tap, just below its handle. "The device itself is incognito," he states. "You don't have to know it's there."

At 125 locations in bars and restaurants throughout St. Louis, Schlafly installed a black rectangular TapTalker beacon at the base of its beer tap's handle.
The company worked closely with Schlafly, Howell says—as well as with other partners that have their own apps—to share the beacon-based content with smartphones and tablets. The TapTalker system can manage any content that Schlafly or another company provides, he says, adding, "We're limited only by the imaginations of the marketers."

The TapTalker beacon comes with a power setting so that the distance of its transmitted signal can be adjusted. Schlafly set its beacons for a broadcast radius of up to 30 meters, Howell reports, with the system able to discern three separate zones within that range, based on the beacon's signal strength, as received by the phone. In that way, the solution can know if an individual is standing within 10, 20 or 30 meters of the device.

Juxtad's Martin Howell
What's more, the system can determine how long the individual remains at that location. Although Schlafly and its clients are not currently using this data, Howell says, they could opt to do so in the future. By knowing the distance, the system could tailor messages according to an individual's whereabouts—for example, inviting a person inside if he or she seems to be standing on the patio. And by monitoring how long that customer remains at the bar, the system can provide push notifications regarding car services if he or she appears to have been drinking for a long span of time and thus might not want to drive.

Initially, Pendegraft says, his company simply wants to offer very basic information to potential customers, and to then compare the app's usage against sales changes at each location. To date, he says, about 1,000 people have downloaded the app.

"What we're hoping for are increased purchases," Pendegraft states. "This is still early stages, but what I'm excited about is the engagement we're having with our customers." The company expects to have 250 beacons installed in restaurants and bars by the end of May, he says, and is working with Juxtad on the next promotion when Earth Day ends.

USER COMMENTS

Devika Girish 2016-04-27 11:09:26 PM
I must say that attaching beacons to beer taps to send push notifications to customers as they enter bars and restaurants, and to share information with them about the beer on tap sounds like a great idea. Its really interesting to see how beacons are being leveraged across industries to offer engaging customer experiences. However, even today not many marketers are very clear about how to go about deploying beacons. In fact many of customers have told us that a simple guide that can help them keep track of the things that they need to keep a check on to ensure a smooth beacon deployment would be really helpful. We have come up with this ultimate checklist that will help businesses with the same here: http://blog.beaconstac.com/2016/04/the-ultimate-checklist-for-planning-your-first-beacon-deployment/

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