In an effort to take the concept of bluetooth marketing to a larger platform, Bangalore-based ValueFirst, a bluetooth broadcast company, is mulling the possibility of a tie-up with Reliance Anil Dhirubai Ambani Group's Big Street and Delhi-based Lakshya Digital to offer the services of proximity marketing through their product, vConnect.
IIM-A students have done a pilot test for the product in Ahmedabad.
vConnect is a bluetooth marketing solution designed and developed by ValueFirst, which can be deployed at various retail venues to send discount coupons and promotional offers to those in the vicinity of the store.
"The concept of proximity marketing using bluetooth technology is in a nascent stage in the country. A small hardware placed at the location will ensure that 100 metres around the area becomes the bluetooth hotspot, where people get an alert about promotional offers in the surrounding retail environment.
The applications could be audio or video images, which can be downloaded and shown at the counter to avail of the discounts claimed by the message. We are in talks with Big Street and Lakshya Digital to run the bluetooth hotspot at these locations," says Gautam Jayaraman, head of sales at Value First.
Last year, three students of the Indian Management Institute-Ahmedabad had taken up a project with ValueFirst to test the concept in malls, cafeterias and movie halls. "We had taken up the project with ValueFirst to study the marketing and market entry perspective of the proximity marketing using bluetooth technology.
"The software and hardware were supplied by ValueFirst. We did a pilot at Iscon Mall in Ahmedabad, but it did not work out due to reasons like the fear of getting virus through bluetooth. Eventually, we tried it out at a lounge in Ahmedabad," says Dhyanesh Shah, one of the students who took up the project.
The product, developed two years ago, has now started getting a better response due to various technical factors. "Bluetooth allows transfer of data free of cost and to avail of the service, one doesn't have to go through telecom service providers like Vodafone and Airtel to reach potential customers.
"Earlier, the response was only average due to the virus scare through bluetooth, but the latest Nokia phones have eliminated that problem and we are expecting bluetooth to be a potential medium for those who cannot afford large hoardings and other strategies for free brand awareness," adds Jayaraman.
The company has also carried out bluetooth marketing initiative for Pantaloon Retail, ICICI Bank, ABN AMRO bank, Wills Lifestyle, Dada Music, Yo! China, Indigo Nation, Spencers, Guardian Life Care and BookMyShow in the past.