iSign proximity advertising heads to Mac’s

The system will be Canada's largest mobile advertising network, says iSign president Alex Romanov.

A new proximity-based advertising system installed at Mac’s convenience stores across the country will be able to send out coupons to 1.5 million potential customers a month, says iSign president and CEO Alex Romanov.

The Richmond Hill-based company will complete the roll-out of the hardware to 1,400 Mac’s convenience stores by mid-March, offering brands and advertisers a chance to tap into customers’ phones with coupons and deals as they walk near or into the convenience store.

The product is an extension of current in-store signage,  says Tom Moher, VP operations, Mac’s, which will help the chain by improving relations with existing customers and reaching new ones.

Once the roll-out is completed, Romanov says the predicted 1.5 million daily potential viewers will be the largest interactive signage network in the world.

While they’re waiting until all the units are in place before rolling out the platform to advertisers, he says they haven’t just been sitting around. Since January 16,2012, the iSign technology has been turned on at more than 500 stores (at press time) and they’ve registered a whopping three million phones passing through or near a store.

The technology works with any computer and sends out the coupon to Bluetooth- or WiFi-enabled phones in a desired proximity (anywhere up to 10 metres). This means that the coupon can be sent to customers while in front of the desired product or as they approach the store, as they’re contemplating whether to come in or not.

This is the first time the technology has been rolled out in Canada, but based on their international successes, Romanov predicts easy pick-up from advertisers.

For example, the department store Best Denki in Singapore uses the technology in nine of its locations, says Romanov. The software measured half a million phones per month, with a coupon download rate of 23%, and an increase in sales of 6%, with loyalty cards increasing 20%, all attributed to the iSign technology, he says.

“What this is doing is, it’s outpacing broadcasters. None of them can boast the audience we’re starting to assemble, it’s only going to be a matter of time before we prove it,” Romanov says. “We can advertise to a person on a couch, but that means getting off the couch, driving to the store and remembering to buy it [the product]. It’s better to nail them when they’re walking in the store with their credit card in one pocket and their phone in the other.”