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Iconic London Shopping Street Gets Latest Accessory: Beacons

The mobile technology will send information to shoppers as they stroll past stores.

Regent Street, a popular shopping and tourist destination in the west end of London, is picking up a new bauble: Mobile beacons.

The Crown Estate will introduce a new smartphone application that takes advantage of location-aware beacon technology to deliver discounts, new-product promotions and other alerts to the smartphones of shoppers as they stroll past stores and restaurants.

Every store along the roughly mile-long Regent Street — including Burberry, Banana Republic, Hugo Boss and Anthropologie — is expected to install beacons to broadcast offers to shoppers as they walk past the storefront. About 100 stores have already been outfitted with the technology.

“We want Regent Street to continue to evolve as the world’s most successful shopping destination,” said the head of The Crown Estate’s Regent Street Portfolio, David Shaw, in a statement, “which means bringing together online, physical and mobile retailing and using the latest technology to create an experience which delivers across all of the platforms that appeal to 21st century shoppers.”

The mobile retail initiative, which is part of an ongoing $1.7 billion Regent Street modernization program, will be touted on double-decker buses and on signs along the shopping thoroughfare.

Seattle-based AutoGraph developed the application for Regent Street, which allows users to indicate brand affinity by swiping up or down (indicating “likes” or “dislikes”) on a series of 40 cards representing well-known brands.

AutoGraph produces an individual profile based on preferences expressed in the minute-long survey. This information determines whether someone sees a 20 percent offer from, say, Banana Republic as they approach the clothing store.

“When you pass by a shop that our matching technology says would be of interest to you, it will send information — it could be an offer, some sort of exclusive,” said Arnel Leyva, global head of marketing for AutoGraph.

The offer disappears if the user takes no action.

A range of retailers have been experimenting with beacon technology, from jeweler Alex & Ani, to Macy’s department stores in New York and San Francisco, to Safeway grocery stores.

Additional reporting by Jason Del Rey.

This article originally appeared on

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