LevelUp: The iBeacons Are Coming, The iBeacons Are Coming!

Boston-based LevelUp has officially taken its iBeacon pilots out of stealth and is now running full tilt with this new technology. But today’s announcement is just the beginning of LevelUp’s plans to enhance the consumer experience and give merchants new options for serving them. PYMNTS spoke to LevelUp’s R&D chief Kate Reynolds about its iBeacon push and where it will take this new technology next.

Mobile payment company LevelUp is jumping on the iBeacon bandwagon this week, with its announced integration kicking off at businesses around the city of Boston this week. With this new function, LevelUp hopes to help bring its 14,000 merchants and 1.5 million users together in relationships that are mutually rewarding.

“By analyzing data from hundreds of our merchant partners, we’ve found customers to typically spend  up to 25 to 40 percent more than average when they know they’re about to unlock a loyalty reward”, explained Seth Priebatsch, Chief Ninja of LevelUp said in a released statement. “Buildling iBeacon support into apps built on the LevelUp platform will help customers stay apprised of their upcoming rewards and help businesses earn more  through their loyalty programs.”

PYMNTS.com caught up with LevelUp’s head of Research and Development Kate Reynolds about the new iBeacon push. She said that with a very low level technological upgrade, LevelUp is able to offer a service that really allows everyone—both merchants and consumers—to have a better experience.

(Jump to 0:22) “Basically beacons are these small tiny devices that are going to be embedded at different business around Boston and when you are in the range of an iBeacon and you have your blue tooth on we are going to be able to alert you on interesting offers from your favorite LevelUp businesses…So you won’t miss out on any offers at places you really enjoy.”

What kinds of offers ping phones can be as unique as the businesses that use the service.  Some rewards will be loyalty points that give users access to free or enhanced ordering. There is also the possibility that individual establishments will be offering inducements for entrance—like reduced rates for those with beacon based coupons. The exact reward matters less to LevelUp, says Reynolds, than making sure that the merchants can put it out there and consumers can easily get access to it.

Hungry diners in Boston’s Financial District can try out the service as at Café De Boston, the Grassroots Café, and Uno Due Go as all are running the service live right now. It is a list that LevelUp expects will get longer.

(Jump to 2:16)“We ran a beta test at about 20 different level up businesses, but this is going to be rolling at fast and furiously over the next couple of months. We’re actually going to be building this into the next version of our scanners so this is going to become a pretty cool feature.”

As for merchants who have started using the feature in the beta test? So far so good it seems, as they are already seeing more transactions since the iBeacons went in.

(Jump to 2:44) “They would see pretty dramatic lifts in their transactions and orders. Some people when we got in touch with them attributed it immediately to the iBeacon, others needed a little more convincing and needed to see a little more data to back it up and we’ve been tracking that in a number of different ways. What is clear is that when we turned on the iBeacons transactions started to increase so people appreciated those reminders and went and redeemed those offers.”

Right now, the service is only available for iOS, though Reynolds says the eventual goal is to make it available to Android phone users as well. Right now, however, she says the company’s focus is on building the iBeacon functionality into the next generation of scanners.

To hear PYMNTS.com’s full conversation with Kate Reynolds about LevelUp’s iBeacon roll-out, press here.



*If you have trouble with the audio player above, click here.