Indoor mobile marketing platform Swirl raised $18 million in a C series funding round from from Hearst Ventures, SoftBank Capital, Twitter Ventures and others. The group plans to use the funds to expand its sales and marketing operations and accelerate product innovation to offer improved micro-location marketing. Swirl delivers beacon-powered marketing solutions which allow marketers to target messages to consumers’ mobile phones whilst they are in-store. This means that shoppers receive highly targeted notifications and offers relating to the store they are in.
Swirl makes it easier for brands to target consumers
“While there are many players in the beacon marketing space, including those that focus on beacon hardware, developer tools, and retail analytics, Swirl offers the most advanced and complete enterprise-class beacon marketing solution for large-scale retailers and brands. From secure beacon hardware to the industry’s most robust beacon marketing software platform to a large-scale beacon-enabled audience to a private ad exchange capability that allows retailers to bring brand partners into their beacon ecosystem, no one in the market offers a more advanced and complete solution that meets the needs of the largest retailers and brands.”
A recent report by BI Intelligence suggests that beacon deployment is on the rise with 85% of top 100 US retailers using them by the end of 2016, influencing $44 billion retail sales. In addition, Swirl found that 73% of consumers who received such content were more likely to make a purchase during a store visit. The group has seen good results with 60% of shoppers engaging and 30% redeeming beacon-triggered offers. As brands are becoming more eager to engage with their consumers, their messages must be relevant.
Ron Fisher, Managing Partner of SoftBank Capital, praised the technology, saying:
“SoftBank’s investments in some of the world’s leading digital and mobile companies give us unique insight into the massive opportunity that is being created by beacon technology. With the most sophisticated platform, strong retailer adoption and clear strategic vision, Swirl is uniquely positioned to lead this rapidly emerging market. We are excited to continue to back the Swirl team as they bring this powerful new capability to the world’s top retailers and brands.”
Among Swirl’s well-known clients are Lord & Taylor, Hudson’s Bay, Urban Outfitters, Marriott, Alex and Ani, and Timberland. For Twitter the investment is likely to help bolster its ad business.