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How Macy’s maximized in-store traffic with beacons during Black Friday

March 25, 2016

Macy's walk in and win campaign

Macy’s walk in and win campaign

NEW YORK – A Macy’s executive at the Mobile Marketing Association’s Mobile Location Leadership Forum shared how the department store created a valuable consumer connection and drove application downloads during Black Friday weekend through a beacon-driven gaming campaign.

During the “Unlocking New Location Marketing Opportunities” keynote session, the executive detailed Macy’s Black Friday in-store campaign in which customers were prompted to install its app and play a digital scratch off to win a wide range of significant products. After a massive beacon rollout in its department stores, the retailer focused on targeting customers during various micromoments throughout the customer journey and learned the key is to keep it simple.

“Simplicity and ease is key,” said Kimberly Yarnell, vice president of digital media at Macy’s. “I think if we continue to learn more about how to use the space and how to let the consumer know what the value proposition is about the space for them that will be core to our in-store strategy.

“I think it is still so new,” she said. “I think we will continue to learn.

“We will get more sophisticated about serving in-store beacon push, both on the Macy’s app as well as outside platforms.”

Walk in and Win
Prior to this past Thanksgiving weekend, Macy’s pushed for a massive beacon rollout to jumpstart a mobile giveaway game. The beacon-enabled campaign targeted mobile users in stores prior to Black Friday, prompting them to download the app and to keep an eye out for the game on the shopping holiday.


Customers who had downloaded the app were sent push notifications if they entered a store on Black Friday, which encouraged users to play the game. The Walk in and Win campaign included thousands of giveaways ranging from gift cards to celebrity meet-and-greets.

Macy’s was aware that the steps to engage with the campaign were somewhat complicated. It is important to make sure that consumers effectively know how to participate, so the retailer shared a video to walk users through the experience of the game.


The department store saw that on-premise targeting drove the most amount of foot traffic, while proximity targeting had the highest reach, which was likely as it ran the longest. Macy’s was pleased to see that it was able to track direct actions from consumers in stores that were driven from the campaign.

Customer journey experience
On Thanksgiving morning, Macy’s wanted to gain access the large amount of visitors there for the parade. It sent out notifications through on-premise targeting, but was careful not to include direct-response content as it wanted to steer clear of interrupting the parade experience, as that can cause negative brand sentiment.

The Walk in and Win campaign is a clear example of how Macy’s values mobile in connecting to consumers throughout the customer journey. Mobile opens the door for location-based targeting, which is key to learning about the customer journey such as where the customer is, was and will be.

“Micromoments are about understanding where a person is, what he or she may be doing at that moment and then delivering a compelling moment to that person at that particular moment based on the signals that you are able to read,” Ms. Yarnell said. “Understanding that concept can be really challenging. Location is really what enables me as a marketer to unlock and understand those signals and react accordingly in a compelling manner.

“Mobile and mobile devices are the key to really unlocking this level of understand. I often think of mobile as the glue connecting the physical world and the digital world,” she said.

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Brielle Jaekel is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer, New York. Reach her at

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