With BarLink, AMI is blending two different proximity marketing technologies. Geofencing uses the smartphone’s built-in location services to recognize when it is in an AMI location. Geofencing’s advantage is that it’s a software-only solution and can be immediately turned on in all of AMI’s BarLink-enabled locations. Beacons offer a more precise solution in those locations that have been physically equipped with a blue-tooth beacon device. Through a partnership with inMarket, the beacons enable AMI to work with third-party advertisers and mobile app vendors to broaden the reach of messages brought to patrons in AMI BarLink locations.

BarLink users will now receive targeted messages based on their app usage and offers relevant to the specific AMI jukebox location they’re attending. “AMI is committed to improving the user experience of BarLink users in AMI locations,” said Ron Richards, AMI Entertainment Network’s Chief Technology Officer. “Proximity marketing lets AMI reach out to patrons entering our locations, reminding them to use the jukebox and bringing them exciting offers to enhance the bar experience.”

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If you spend a few hours at your favorite neighborhood bar, you’ll be passively exposed to dozens of advertising messages without even noticing them—a coaster bearing an energy drink logo, a neon sign for a liquor brand, a beer brand’s schedule of upcoming football games and the like. Like banner blindness in the real world, people barely register the brands they’ve seen, much less engage with them.

But that’s about to change. At CES this week, location technology company inMarket is announcing a new product to make in-bar advertising a little more engaging and a lot more memorable. Through a partnership with AMI Entertainment, the inBar ambient intelligence platform will use beacons, the most accurate geo-location technology, to deliver a personalized experience to smartphone users inside bars, restaurants, casinos and nightclubs. The rollout begins now to over 23,000 locations in AMI’s network.

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inMarket, one of the world’s largest beacon platforms, says its analysis shows its platform influenced $14.5 billion in consumer spending during the Black Friday weekend.

The platform noticed 370 percent more beacon detections than the same time last year, showing the rise in beacon engagement from both consumers and retailers in 2016.

Beacons send notifications to potential customers in the nearby area, which alerts them to deals, freebies, and other enhancements. inMarket provides the platform for retailers to push notifications to mobile devices, which reaches 50 million people in the United States.

“Over our six-plus year history, we’ve seen a lot of trends in the echo chamber. The guiding light for us has been to drive value for consumers enabled by new technology. We focus on the user, not the tech or the hardware,” said inMarket CEO, Todd Dipaola.

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A recent article in Marketing Land cited two different studies (from InMarket and Euclid) to establish two pertinent facts: More than half of consumers use smartphones as part of their in-store shopping experience, but few of them are using the retailer’s own apps. While each study reported varying percentages of smartphone and app usage, the trend was consistent.

The main reason is that too many retail apps offer customers a terrible mobile experience and not enough value to move them off of Amazon. What’s more, many retail apps do not offer the retailer a comprehensive, platform-based solution — they’re just storefronts without the robust tools and back-end integrations to make the most of the mobile opportunity.

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It’s very well established that consumers use smartphones as shopping assistants in stores. We’re now getting into the nuances of how they use them and how marketers and retailers can be more effective in tapping that in-store usage.

A new survey from inMarket offers some insights and a bit of contradictory data to the growing body of information about in-store smartphone usage. The company examined the mobile shopping behaviors of 2,500 US smartphone owners who used their devices in stores.

Conducted between July and September, the study’s primary finding is that the most common in-store smartphone use case is shopping-related research (55 percent). No surprise there. What follows is “messaging unrelated to shopping” and “listening to music.”

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We know from numerous studies that consumers use their phones while shopping in stores.

For marketers, the obvious issue has always been about finding out exactly how shoppers are using their phones both before they travel to the store and then once they get there.

Most studies show that top of the list of what shoppers do is conduct product research and then check competitive pricing.

This matters, since so many consumers are using their phones to shop.

One recent study found that a large majority (83%) of consumers say their smart device is central to their shopping experience. That study, by Euclid Analytics, also found that 67% of consumers shop in stores because they like to see and touch products.

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