28 July 2014

St George starts testing iBeacons in branches

15 May 2014  |  5472 views  |  3 Sydney Opera house

Australia's St George Bank has begun trialling iBeacon technology in branches, pinging information to customers' iPhones when they enter the building.

The Bluetooth Low Energy tech has been installed in three Sydney branches so that a bank iPad sends a welcome message and tailored information directly to customer iPhones. Recipients can respond to the message or cancel the interaction.

A similar trial is taking place in New Zealand at St George's parent, WestPac.

The bank says that the trial is designed to get customer feedback on whether the new technology "genuinely meets their needs" and improves interaction. A decision will then be made on whether to roll out iBeacons across its branch network.

George Frazis, CEO, St George, says: "The iBeacon trial forms part of a broader investment in our retail branches that will see more digital technology and increased staff expertise to make banking simpler, easier and faster for our customers."

St George CIO, Dhiren Kulkarni, has also told ZDNet that the bank plans to ditch its online system next year as it rolls out an integrated mobile platform for all digital channels.

Comments: (3)

Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 17 May, 2014, 13:23

The near-universal love affair with Apple technology will surely trigger initial trials even from businesses and consumers who have hitherto been apathetic to other LBS alternatives out in the market. Eventually, however, the critical success factors for these location-based initiatives will shift from technology to things like content of "tailored information", location and time of alert. In a retail industry pilot, we're seeing much higher conversions for the targeted offer "20% discount off on coffee" sent to someone just outside the coffee store (rather than inside) at 3PM (rather than 8PM). 

James Piggot - Misys - London | 19 May, 2014, 09:44

Surely not just iPhones, this includes Android, Windows and other bluetooth enabled smartphones as well, see below for another interview with Kulkarni from ZD Net

According to Kulkarni, the main aim of using iBeacon is to help deliver a personalised experience to its customers each time they enter a branch by sending a welcome message and tailored information directly to their Apple, Windows, or Android device — as long as its Bluetooth-enabled.

Marcus Cartwright - MLF Project Management Ltd - London | 22 May, 2014, 15:40

Indeed, BLE/iBeacon should be and is platform agnostic. Getting the right approach for any public or customer pilot is key - the right amount of (relevant) content and information delivered at the right time. Making it customer customisable (via the app) is an added bonus.

I find Kulkarni's last statement above interesting - a bit of a first(?), a mobile-centric digital business model...

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