WO2017079280A1 - Personal beacon - Google Patents

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Publication number
WO2017079280A1
WO2017079280A1 PCT/US2016/060095 US2016060095W WO2017079280A1 WO 2017079280 A1 WO2017079280 A1 WO 2017079280A1 US 2016060095 W US2016060095 W US 2016060095W WO 2017079280 A1 WO2017079280 A1 WO 2017079280A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
member
retailer
processors
notification
location information
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2016/060095
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Ying Zhang
David E. Acker
Original Assignee
Announce, Llc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US201562249689P priority Critical
Priority to US62/249,689 priority
Application filed by Announce, Llc filed Critical Announce, Llc
Publication of WO2017079280A1 publication Critical patent/WO2017079280A1/en

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination
    • G06Q30/0281Customer communication at a business location, e.g. providing product or service information, consulting
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination
    • G06Q30/0207Discounts or incentives, e.g. coupons, rebates, offers or upsales
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination
    • G06Q30/0241Advertisement
    • G06Q30/0251Targeted advertisement
    • G06Q30/0259Targeted advertisement based on store location
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination
    • G06Q30/0241Advertisement
    • G06Q30/0251Targeted advertisement
    • G06Q30/0261Targeted advertisement based on user location
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination
    • G06Q30/0241Advertisement
    • G06Q30/0251Targeted advertisement
    • G06Q30/0267Wireless devices

Abstract

The technology relates to receiving location information for one or more members, the location information including data associated with each of the one or more user's geographical location. Using one or more processors to receive geographical location information for one or more retailers (320-340) and determine the geographical location of a first member (220) of the one or more members is within a predetermined proximity (310) the geographical location information of a first retailer of the or more retailers. The one or more processors further determine the first retailer has a notification uploaded and the first member's user preferences accept notifications from the first retailer. Upon determining the first member's user preferences accept notifications from the first retailer, the one or more processors transmit the uploaded notification to the first member.

Description

PERSONAL BEACON

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application claims the benefit of the filing date of U.S. Provisional

Patent Application No. 62/249,689 filed November 2, 2015, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Businesses, such as service providers and retailers, are continually looking for ways to improve their customer relations. Customers who receive high quality, personalized services from a business may spend more money at the business, return for future shopping trips, and spread word of the business to their acquaintances. Accordingly, there is a need for a service which provides businesses with the tools necessary to consistently provide the best personalized experiences possible to their customers.

SUMMARY

[0003] The disclosed subject matter relates to a computer implemented method for providing notifications to members of a concierge program. Member location information for one or more members, may be received by one or more processors, the member location information including data representing the geographical location of each of the one or more members. The one or more processors may maintain retailer location information for one or more retailers in a memory accessible by the one or more processors. The one or more processors may determine (i) that a first member of the one or more members is within a predetermined proximity of a first retailer of the one or more retailers based on the member location information and the retailer location information and (ii) that a notification from the first retailer is accessible to the one or more processors. In response to determinations (i) and (ii) transmitting, by the one or more processors, the notification to the first member.

[0004] Prior to transmitting the notification to the first member, the one or more processors may receive the first member's user preferences and determine the first member's user preferences permit the notification from the first retailer, the step of transmitting the notification being performed only if the user preferences permit such notification.

[0005] The location information may be received by the one or more processors from portable devices carried by the members and the notification may be sent to the portable device carried by the first member.

[0006] The notification may include at least one of product offerings, sale information, or upcoming events at the first retailer. [0007] Determining the first member's user preferences approve notifications from the first retailer may further include determining the first member's user preferences approves notifications including at least one of product offerings, sale information, or upcoming events at the first retailer.

[0008] The member location information may be received from portable devices carried by the one or more members and the notification may be transmitted to the portable device carried by the first member.

[0009] The portable devices may be selected from the group consisting of mobile phones, tablets, netbooks navigation units.

[0010] The predetermined proximity may include an area centered on the geographical location of the first member.

[0011] Determining the geographical location of the first member is within a predetermined proximity of the first retailer may include determining whether the geographical location information of the first member of the one or more member is within the area.

[0012] Determining the geographical location of the first member is within a predetermined vicinity of the geographical location information of the first retailer and transmitting consumer data associated with the first member to the first retailer.

[0013] Prior to transmitting the consumer data associated with the first member to the first retailer, the one or more processors, may send an inquiry to the first member, wherein the first inquiry may request notification of whether or not to announce the first member to the first retailer and receive an indication of whether or not to announce the first member to the first retailer and upon determining the first member wishes to be announced, provide a welcome message and meeting location to the first member.

[0014] The predetermined vicinity may include the interior of first retailer.

[0015] A method is provided for providing information to a member of a concierge program may comprise (a) transmitting a location signal representing the geographic location of the member from the device to a server operated on behalf of the program; (b) receiving a notification signal at the device, transmitted from the server, the notification signal representing information provided by a retailer in proximity to the geographic location represented by the location signal; and (c) displaying the information provided by the retailer on a display included in the device.

[0016] Providing information to a member of a concierge program may further comprise (d) transmitting an announce permission signal from the device to the server, the announce permission signal representing permission for the server to announce to the retailer that the member is present at the retailer. [0017] Providing information to a member of a concierge program may comprise displaying on the device a request for announce permission and an indication of an action to be taken by the member to grant announce permission, the step of transmitting an announce permission signal being performed in response to the action by the member.

[0018] A system is provided for providing information to a member of a concierge program. The system may comprise one or more processors, portable devices adapted to be carried by the members, each of the portable devices may be adapted to transmit location information representing the location of the member carrying that device to the one or more processors through a network and to receive information from the one or more processors through the network, and a memory containing instructions in non-transitory form accessible to the one or more processors, the instructions may be arranged to cause the one or more processors to (a) receive member location information for one or more members from the portable devices and (b) maintain retailer location information for one or more retailers in a memory accessible by the one or more processors, and (c)determine, with the one or more processors (i) that a first member of the one or more members is within a predetermined proximity of a first retailer of the or more retailers based on the member location information and the retailer location information and (ii) that a notification from the first retailer is accessible to the one or more processors; and (d)transmit, in response to determinations (i) and (ii), the notification to the portable device carried by the first member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] FIGURE 1 is a functional diagram of an example system in accordance with aspects of the disclosure.

[0020] FIGURE 2 is a pictorial diagram of the example system of FIGURE 1.

[0021] FIGURE 3 is an example of user location tracking in accordance with aspects of the disclosure.

[0022] FIGURE 4 is a flow diagram of a location based member notification method in accordance with aspects of the disclosure.

[0023] FIGURE 5 is an example of user location tracking in accordance with aspects of the disclosure.

[0024] FIGURE 6 is a flow diagram of a location based member information gathering method in accordance with aspects of the disclosure.

[0025] FIGURE 7 is a flow diagram of engaging a customer based on member information in accordance with aspects of the disclosure. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OVERVIEW

[0026] This technology relates to, by way of example, providing a network of retail establishments and service providers ("retailers") access to consumer data in exchange for the retailers providing personalized offers and services to consumers. In this regard, an organization may establish a concierge program which provides participating retailers with consumer data associated with members of the concierge program. Concierge program memberships may be extended to consumers based on demographics valuable to the participating retailers.

[0027] Members may be provided with personalized offers and services in exchange for allowing the concierge program to collect the members' consumer data and location information. In this regard, participating retailers may use the members' consumer data and location information to provide personalized offers and services tailored to each individual member.

[0028] The concierge program may be operated by one or more organizations. In this regard, the organization may be any entity or combination of entities, such as financial corporations as, for example, one or more credit card companies, banks, credit unions, a consortium of retailers, an individual retailer, or one or more natural persons. In certain embodiments multiple concierge programs may be operated by one or more organizations, with each concierge program containing its own set of members and/or sharing members. In some embodiments, a group of retailers which join the concierge program may also operate the organization which runs the concierge program.

[0029] Membership to the concierge program may be limited to select consumers. In this regard, consumers who satisfy certain criteria, such as consumers who frequent certain types of stores, spend a certain amount of money, have a high net worth, or purchase specific types of products, etc., may be offered membership. As such, participating retailers have the ability to market to a select group of targeted customers, assuring their offers and advertisements are reaching their preferred demographic. Further, by providing participating retailers with the member's consumer data, retailers may be offered insight into their customer's spending and shopping behaviors.

[0030] Location information of a first member of the concierge program may be tracked using a location signal from a first member's portable device, such as a mobile phone. Based on the tracked location information of the first member, nearby establishments of participating retailers may be identified. The first member's consumer data may then be used by the retailer, by the organization, or by both in combination to determine whether any notifications, such as ongoing sales or limited time offers occurring at the identified establishments of the participating retailers, should be provided to the first member. Upon determining the first member allows for notification from one or more of the participating retailers, a notification may be provided to the first member's portable device.

[0031] Localized notifications may be sent to the members based on tracked location information of the members. In this regard, each participating retailer may create notifications and make them available for transmission to members as, for example, by uploading the notifications to a central server controlled by the organization. The notifications may be updated, deleted, and/or otherwise managed and maintained by the respective participating retailer who created the notification. In some embodiments, each establishment of a participating retailer may manage their own notifications. Such notifications may include offers, sales, and other such information which the retailer may wish to inform the members about.

[0032] The participating retailers may provide customized notifications designed specifically for an individual member. For example, when the first member is determined to be in proximity to a participating retailer, the participating retailer may receive an alert at their retail computing device. In response to the alert, the participating retailer may create a customized notification based on the first member's consumer data and make that notification available for transmission to the first member.

[0033] The first member's location information may also be used to notify participating retailers when a member has entered or is likely to enter one of their establishments. For example, based on the tracked location information, it may be determined that the first member has entered an establishment of a participating retailer. For example, the central server may compare the first member's location to the locations of participating retailers stored in the database, to determine whether the first member is within a preset vicinity of a participating retailer's establishment. An inquiry to determine whether the first member wishes to be announced may be sent to the first member's portable device. Upon receiving confirmation that the first member wishes to be announced, some or all of the first member's consumer data may be provided to one or more devices within the establishment, such as point of sale ("POS") terminals operated by the retailer and portable devices such as cell phones carried by retailer personnel. The consumer data forwarded to the retailer may include information which helps the retailer provide the first member with an interaction which is pleasant and efficient for the member and profitable for the retailer. For example, the consumer data sent to the retailer may include a picture of the member; personal information such as future or recent events in the member's life; and information relevant to the member's selection of goods or services offered by the retailer. For example, a clothing retailer may receive information about the clothing sizes and style preferences of the member and his or her relevant family members, the member's favorite refreshments and the like. A hotel may receive information about the member's room and dining preferences. In some embodiments the consumer data may be sent to the retailer in association with the member's pseudonym and not member's real name. In this regard the retailer will only know the member as their pseudonym, thus, maintaining the anonymity of the member.

[0034] Upon receiving the alert and/or consumer data, the participating retailer may then interact with the first member. Some or all of the consumer data about the first member may be displayed on a device such as a POS terminal in the establishment or a portable device carried by store personnel, so that the retailer's personnel can greet the customer by name or pseudonym, and attend to particular needs and wants apparent from the consumer data. In this regard, the participating retailer may provide welcome messages from their retailer device to the first member's portable device. Further, the participating retailer may transmit a proposed meeting location within the establishment. The first member may be provided an option to respond to the retailer's messages via the first member's portable device.

[0035] In some embodiments, additional data may be used to provide a refined location to the participating retailer. For example, the first member's location information may be supplemented by other locating data as, for example, altitude data, receipt of local RFID beacons with the establishment by the member's portable device; receipt of a local signal sent by the member's portable device, or automatic facial recognition of the member based on views captured by cameras within the establishment, to further define the first member's location within the establishment. Accordingly, the first member's position as they travel throughout the establishment may be known and tracked. As such, the participating retailer may locate the member and/or provide the member directions to a certain location within the establishment.

[0036] The ability of participating retailers to provide notifications to members assures that the participating retailers are being noticed by their target audiences. Additionally, participating retailers which receive consumer data of members who are currently in establishments of the participating retailers, the participating retailers may provide personalized experiences to its customers. As such, the customers will more likely have a positive experience. With a positive experience, customers are more likely to spend more money at the participating retailer, return to the participating retailer for the experience, and spread word of their experience to their acquaintances.

EXAMPLE SYSTEMS

[0037] Figures 1 and 2 include an example system 100 in which the features described above may be implemented. It should not be considered as limiting the scope of the disclosure or usefulness of the features described herein. In this example, the system can include computing devices such as a server computer 110, retail computing device 140, and a portable device carried 120 carried by a member and a storage device 150. Each computing device 110, 120, and 140 may contain one or more processors 112, memory 114 and other components commonly found in general purpose computing devices. Memory 114 of each of computing devices 110, 120, and 140 can store information accessible by the one or more processors 112, including instructions 116 that can be executed by the one or more processors 112.

[0038] Memory can also include data 118 that can be used by the processor 112. Memory 114 can be any non-transitory type capable of storing information accessible by the processor, such as a hard-drive, solid state hard-drive, flash drive, ROM, RAM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, CD-ROM, write-capable, and read-only memories.

[0039] Instructions 116 may be any type of instructions which may be executed directly or indirectly by a processor. For example, the instructions may be a program executable by the one or more processors 112. The instructions may be stored in a form which may be read by a processor, or in any other computing device language. The operations which the instructions cause the one or more processors to execute are explained in more detail below. The terms "instructions," "application," "steps," and "programs" can be used interchangeably herein. Data 118 may be read and executed by the one or more processors 112 in accordance with the instructions 116.

[0040] The one or more processors 112 can be any type of processor commonly found in computing devices, such as CPUs from Intel or AMD. Alternatively, the processors may be ARM or System on Chips (SoCs), or other hardware-based processors.

[0041] The elements of computing device 110, although found in the same block in Fig. 1, may actually comprise multiple processors, computers, computing devices, or memories that may or may not be stored within the same physical housing. For example, the memory can be a hard drive and/or other storage media located in housings different from that of the computing devices 110. The same is true of the other devices 120 and 140. Further, usage of the terms processor, computer, computing device, memory, etc., will be understood to include references to a plurality of processors, computers, computing devices, or memories that may or may not operate in series or parallel.

[0042] The components of the computing devices may also be implemented by communicating information between components over network 160. In this regard, each of the computing devices 110, 120, and 140 can be at different nodes of a network 160 and capable of directly and indirectly communicating with other nodes of network 160. While only three computing devices 110, 120, and 140 are shown in Figures 1-2, it should be understood that a system may include a large number of computing devices, each at different nodes of the network 160. For example, each retailer typically would have numerous retail computing devices 140, and each member typically will have at least one portable device 120. [0043] The network 160 and intervening nodes described herein can be interconnected using various networking protocols. In this regard, the network 160 may be implemented via the Internet, intranets, wide area networks (WAN), local area networks (LAN), etc. Communication protocols, such as Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, LTE, 3G, 4G, Edge, and HTTP, and various combinations of the foregoing, may be used to communicate data.

[0044] Each of the computing devices 110, 120, and 140 may include web servers capable of communicating with storage device 150 via the network 160. For example, one or more of server computing devices 110 may use network 160 to transmit and present information to a human user, such as member 220, or retailer employee 230, on a display, such as displays 122, or 142 of computing devices 120, or 140.

[0045] Each of the computing devices 120 and 140 may be configured to include one or more processors, memory and instructions as described above in relation to computing device 110. Each computing devices 120 or 140 may include all of the components normally used in connection with a personal computing device such as a central processing unit (CPU), graphical processing unit (GPU), memory (e.g., RAM, ROM, SSD, HD, etc.) storing data and instructions. The computing devices may also include one or more displays, such as displays 122 or 142. In some embodiments the displays may be a touch-screen, a projector, a television, a CRT monitor, or other device that is operable to display information. Additionally, the computing devices may also include user input devices 124 such as a mouse, keyboard, touch-screen, or microphone). The computing devices 120 and 140 may also include a camera for recording pictures or videos, speakers, a network interface device, and all of the components used for connecting these elements to one another.

[0046] In the particular embodiment depicted in Figs. 1 and 2, the portable device 120 carried by the member includes a main device 211 and a physical membership card 210. The main device 211 may comprise essentially any computing device which can be conveniently carried by the member. By way of example only, member computing device 120 may be a mobile phone or a tablet PC, a navigation unit, a netbook or a smart watch or other wearable computing device. Elements and functions of the portable device 120 may be disposed in the either or both of the main device 211 and the membership card 210. A physical membership card may include one or more components such as RFID tags, processors, memory, global positioning systems (GPS), NFC tags, magnetic stripes, displays, LEDs, or other such components. In some embodiments the membership card may be used to conduct transaction in a way similar to a debit or credit card. In other embodiments, the membership card may glow or light, upon being touched by a user. [0047] In other embodiments, the physical membership card may be omitted so that the portable device consists only of the main device. Stated another way, in these embodiments, the main device 211 performs the functions of the membership card and thus serves as The main device 211 of portable device 120 carried by the member performs the functions which would otherwise be performed by the membership card, and thus serves as a virtual membership card. In some embodiments the retail computing device 140 may be a point of sale ("POS) terminal, a personal computer or a portable computing device such as a cellular telephone carried by a retailer employee.

[0048] Storage device 150 can be of any type of storage capable of storing information accessible by the server computing devices 110, member computing device 120, or retail computing device 140, such as a hard-drive, a solid state hard drive, NAND memory, ROM, RAM, DVD, CD-ROM, write-capable, and read-only memories. In addition, storage device 150 may include a distributed storage device where data is stored on a plurality of different storage devices which may be physically located at the same or different geographic locations, such as network attached storage. Storage device 150 may be connected to the computing devices via the network 160 as shown in Figure 1 and/or may be directly connected to any of the computing devices 110, 120, and 140.

[0049] An organization may operate one or more central servers which maintain consumer data for each member of the concierge program. In this regard, the central server, such as server, 110 may maintain one or more storage devices which store the consumer data and system preferences for each member of the concierge program. The storage devices, such as storage device 150, may store, for each member, consumer data in a database. In some embodiments, one or more of the functions of the central servers, such as server computer 110, may be implemented by the retail computing device 140. As such, the retailer may operate the servers or retail computing devices which perform the functions of the server computer 110 in place of, or in concert with the organization. In other embodiments, consumer data may be stored within the portable device 120 carried by the member.

[0050] Consumer data may include information which is relevant or of interest to the participating retailers. For example, the consumer data may include biographical data, purchasing history, and retail experience preferences related to how the retailer should interact with the member, amongst other types of possible consumer data. Biographical data may include the member's name, an optional pseudonym, date of birth, age, sex, address, phone number, email address, date membership to the concierge program started, the member's picture, and other such information. Purchasing history may include, for example, past items which were purchased, total amount of previous purchases, total amount of money spent at each participating retailers, etc. Retail experience preferences may include information such as preferred styles and brands of merchandise or services; preferred amenities which a retailer should make available and the like.

[0051] System preferences for each member may include data relevant to how the system should operate for the particular member. Such system preferences may include, for example, the types of shops the member frequents, a list of participating retailers from which the member accepts notifications, a list of retailers from which the member will not accept notifications, whether or not the member wishes to have his or her presence announced to participating retailers, etc.

[0052] Typically, the system preferences and biographical information are provided by the member to the server at the time of enrollment, and can be changed by the member as, for example, by sending update information to the server. The other consumer data and retail experience preferences can be provided by the participating retailers and updated by the retailers as the user interacts with the retailers.

[0053] For purposes of security and privacy, each member may maintain control over their respective consumer data and retail experience preferences. For example, each member may select which bibliographical data may be stored at the central server. In one embodiment a member may select that the central server not store any bibliographical data which identifies the member, such as the member's name, address, phone number, email address, member's picture, and other such information. In further embodiments the member may select which retail experience preferences and purchasing history may be stored by the central server. For example, each member may be provided the option to have their purchasing history and retail experience preferences tracked only for certain stores. In some embodiments the member's may be provided an option to block all consumer data tracking. Such a block may be for a predetermined time period, for specific retailers, or any combination of time and specific retailers.

[0054] Certain consumer data may be stored only within the portable device 120 carried by the member. For example, a member may select certain consumer data for local storage only. Such certain consumer data may be highly sensitive, such as the member's name, pseudonym, and age. As such, the selected consumer data may only be stored within the portable device.

[0055] The central server may also store the location information of each member. In this regard, the location information, such as GPS signals indicating a member's geographical location, for each member may be transmitted from each member's portable device, such as device 120 to the central server. The central server may then store the received location information of each member in association with each member's respective consumer data. The central server may store the location information in the same, or a different, database as the consumer data. In some embodiments the central server may receive real-time location information from each member's portable device. In addition, the location information may include historical geolocation information indicating locations each member previously traversed, participating retailers which were visited, retailers which were visited but not part of the concierge program, etc.

EXAMPLE METHODS

[0056] The concierge program may be operated by one or more organizations as explained above. The concierge program may only partner with select retailers. For example, the concierge program may only allow retailers to participate if they deal in goods or services of a specific quality, or if the retailer has a specific reputation. In some embodiments, any combination of retailers may be may be partnered with.

[0057] Membership to the concierge program may be limited to select consumers. In this regard, consumers who satisfy certain criteria, such as consumers who frequent certain types of stores, spend a certain amount of money, or purchase specific types of products, etc., may be offered membership. In one embodiment, membership may be limited only to customers identified as high net-worth individuals. As such, participating retailers have the ability to market to a select group of targeted customers, assuring their offers and advertisements are reaching their preferred demographic. Further, by providing participating retailers with the member's consumer data, retailers may be offered insight into their customer's spending and shopping behaviors. In other embodiments, membership may not be limited. As such, any consumer may become a member of the concierge program.

[0058] Localized notifications may be sent to the members based on tracked location information of the members. In this regard, each participating retailer may create notifications and make them available for transmission to members. Typically, a notification is made available for transmission to members by uploading the information constituting the notification to the central server. The information provided to the server may also include information referred to herein as directional information, which is usable by the server in directing the notification to an appropriate member or members. The directional information may include one or more of information specifying a class of members to whom the notification should be delivered as, for example, members with a spending history at the retailer above a threshold; information directly specifying one or more members as by name or other identifying data; information defining times when the message may be sent; and information characterizing the content of the notification as, for example, a new product announcement; announcement of a sale, or other category of notification. The notifications may be updated, deleted, and/or otherwise managed and maintained by the respective participating retailer who created the notification. In some embodiments, each establishment of a participating retailer may manage their own notifications. Such notifications may include offers, sales, and other such information which the retailer may wish to inform the members about.

[0059] The central server may track the location information of members. For example, as illustrated in Fig. 3, a first member 220 may be located in a shopping district 300, which includes three participating retailers 320, 330, and 340. First member 220 may transmit a location signal, including location information, from portable device 120 to a central server, such as server 110. The member may do this manually, by entering a command to send a onetime notification signal into portable device 120. More commonly, the member will command the portable device to repeatedly send location signals at intervals until the member enters a further command to cease. The central server may receive the transmitted location signals. The received location information may then be stored by the central server as the first member's most current location in association with the first member's identification. For example, the received location information may be stored in a storage device, such as storage device 150. The central server may retain prior location information so that the central serve may derive information about the member's movement over time, such as direction and speed.

[0060] The received location information received in the location signal may be compared to known locations of participating retailers, to determine nearby participating retailers. For example, as shown in Fig. 3, the central server may compare the first member's location 220 to the locations of the participating retailers 320, 330, and 340 stored in the database.

[0061] Each participating retailer whose location is within a preset distance of the first member's location may be determined to be a nearby retailer. The preset distance 310, may be measured from the location of first member 220. As shown in Fig. 3, stores 320 and 330 are within the preset distance 310 of first member 220. The preset distance may be the radius of a circular area, centered on the first member 220. As such, stores 320 and 330 may be considered nearby retailers. In this example, those stores disposed 320 and 330 lying within the circular area are considered nearby participating retailers. In alternative embodiments, the preset distance 310 may be dynamically set based on the density of retailers in a location. For example, the preset distance may be small in midtown Manhattan and large in rural Montana. In other embodiments, nearby retailers may merely mean closest of all participating retailers or the closest participating retailer within a preset distance. In still other embodiments, the determination of nearby retailers takes into account unique characteristics of the location. For example, if the user is moving at a high speed at a location known to be an expressway in a city, the central server may treat retailers closest to the next exit from the expressway as the nearby retailers. Likewise, if the user's location and speed indicate that he or she is on a railroad train, the central server may treat retailers in or adjacent the next railroad station as nearby retailers.

[0062] For each nearby retailer, the central server may determine whether the participating retailers have provided notifications to the central server. In this regard, the central server may query the database and determine whether the nearby retailers have uploaded notifications. For example, the central server may query the database and determine whether retailers 320 or 330 uploaded notifications.

[0063] For each uploaded notification, the central server may determine whether the first member's preferences allow for receipt of the notification. In this regard, the first member may only wish to receive notifications about certain types of offers. Accordingly, for each uploaded notification, the central server may determine whether the notification is in accordance with the first member's user preferences to receive only certain types of offers. The directional information provided by the retailer along with the notification may be used in conjunction with the member's preferences to make this determination. By way of example, nearby retailer 320 may have provided a notification about a new product, but the first member's 220 preferences do not allow for new product notifications. Accordingly, the new product notification from retailer 320 may not be provided to the first member. Nearby retailer 330 may have provided the central server with a notification about clothing sales, and the first member's 220 preferences may indicate they would like to receive notifications about clothing sales. Accordingly, the notification from retailer 330 may be provided to the first member's portable device. The above examples are directed to preferences for a single type of notification; however each member's preferences may include any combination of one or more notification types. In some embodiments members may have no preferences, or the member preferences may be ignored. As such, the members may receive all or no notifications.

[0064] In some embodiments the participating retailers may provide customized notifications designed specifically for an individual member. For example, when the first member is determined to be within a preset distance from a participating retailer, the participating retailer may receive an alert at their retail computing device. The alert may include a text message, email, audio-alert, pop-up notification, or other such notifications. In response to the alert, the participating retailer may create a customized notification based on the first member's consumer data either automatically or manually. Such customized notifications may include informing the first member of new products which their associated consumer data shows the first member would be interested in, special discounts for spending a certain amount previously at the participating retailer, etc. [0065] Flow diagram 400 of Fig. 4 is an example flow diagram of some of the aspects described above that may be performed by one or more servers, such as server computer 110. In this example, at block 401 member's location information may be received, wherein the member's location information includes the member's geographical location. At block 403 participating retailers with a preset distance of the member's geographical location are determined to be nearby retailers. Should no participating retailer be within a preset distance of the member's geographical location, the process may go back to block 401. At block 405, for each nearby retailer a determination may be made whether the nearby retailer has provided any notifications. If no notification were provided the process may go back to block 401.

[0066] As further shown in the flow diagram 400, of Fig. 4, at block 409 the member's preferences are reviewed. A determination is then made whether the member's preferences allow for receipt of the notifications provided by the nearby retailers. If the member's preferences do not allow for notifications provided by the nearby retailers the process may go back to block 401. Otherwise, the notifications may be provided to the member, as shown in block 411. In certain embodiments the retailers may not initiate communication with members in an unsolicited fashion. However, retailers may provide special, one time notifications to one or more members if the member's preferences allow for receipt of the notifications.

[0067] The location information of members may also be tracked to provide consumer data to participating retailer's establishments. Typically, the member's consumer data is provided by the central server to the retailer in response to an announce permission signal. In some embodiments, the member will respond to a notification sent by the system as discussed above by actuating portable device 120 to send an announce permission signal to the central server. More typically, the central server will send a query signal to the member's portable device asking whether the member wishes to be announced when the location information associated with the first member indicates that the member has entered, or is about to enter the retailer's establishment. In response to this query signal, the member's portable device will display a query asking whether the member wishes to be announced to the retailer, and the member may respond to the query by commanding the portable device to send an announce permission signal for that establishment.

[0068] In some embodiments, when a member indicates that they wish to be announced and their picture is stored locally, they can choose whether or not to send their picture to the retailer. Should they choose to be announced with a picture, the picture may be transmitted from the member's personal device, such as portable device 120. In some embodiments the picture transmitted from the member's personal device may contain a retailer watermark. The retailer watermark may contain the name of the recipient retailer's establishment. [0069] The recipient Merchant may be required to push an on screen button, such as a button on their retailer device to view the member's transmitted picture. Upon releasing the button, the picture may disappear from the retailer's display. In some embodiments the member's transmitted picture may not be stored in the retailer's device or the central server. Additionally, in certain embodiments the retailer's device may have screen capture functions disable while the member's picture is displayed.

[0070] As discussed above, the member's portable device 120 periodically sends location information to the central server, and the central server uses the location information to determine if the member has entered, or is about to enter, a particular establishment. For example, as illustrated in Fig. 5, a first member 220, may enter a store S2, located at a known location 330. The received location information received in the location signal may be compared to known locations of participating retailers, to determine nearby participating retailers. For example, as shown in Fig. 5, the central server may compare the first member's location, marked as 'X', to the location of a participating retailer stored in the database. As such, a determination may be made whether the first member is within a preset vicinity of the participating retailer's establishment. Typically, the preset vicinity of the retailer will be encompass a smaller area than the predetermined distance used to determine whether the retailer is a nearby retailer for the purpose of sending notifications as discussed above, although in some embodiments the preset vicinity may be the same as the predetermined distance.

[0071] The preset vicinity of a participating retailer's establishment may include the entirety of the participating retailer's establishment as well as surrounding areas. Here again, the size of the area regarded as the "immediate vicinity" may be adjusted depending on particular characteristics and geography of the establishment. In some embodiments the preset vicinity may be centered at the middle of an establishment. As illustrated in Fig. 5, preset vicinity 520 may include all of store S2, as well as some surrounding areas. As further shown in Fig. 5, the first member's location 'X', is also within the preset vicinity 520 of store S2. In other embodiments, the preset vicinity may include only the areas around entrance doors to the establishment. In still other embodiments, the central server may use information about the member's direction of motion in combination with presence in the preset vicinity to determine whether the member is entering an establishment. In still further embodiments, the central server may derive a measure of the probability that the member will enter a particular establishment by combining location information, with or without direction information, with other information about the member. For example, if the member has historically visited a particular establishment, the probability that the user intends to enter the establishment is higher. [0072] Upon receiving confirmation that the first member wishes to be announced, the central server may forward an alert a retailer device at the participating retailer's establishment. Depending on preferences set by the member, the central server may also forward some or all of the member's consumer data to the retailer. Continuing the example of Fig. 5, upon first member 220 entering vicinity 520, store S2 may receive an alert at a retailer device at S2, or any other predetermined establishment of the participating retailer who operates S2. In some embodiments a member's consumer data may be forwarded to a participating retailer's establishment upon entering the participating retailer's establishment, regardless of whether the member wishes to be announced. In some further embodiments a member's preferences may include information regarding whether they wish automatically be announced or not. As such, the member's preferences would override the need for an inquiry to be sent to the member. Thus the participating retailer may set aside a private room or take other steps necessary for the appointment, such as gathering items which may be of interest to the first member.

[0073] Upon receiving the alert and/or consumer data, the participating retailer may then interact with the first member. In this regard, the participating retailer may provide welcome messages from their retailer device to the first member's portable device. Further, the participating retailer may transmit a proposed meeting location within the establishment. The first member may be provided an option to respond to the retailer's messages via the first member's portable device. These messages may be transmitted through the network discussed above. For example, messages from the retailer may be routed in the same manner as notifications discussed above. Alternatively or additionally, the central server may establish a connection between the member portable device and the retailer device through a public switched network as, for example, through the telephone network, for transmission of such messages. For example, messages between the retailer device and the portable device may be conveyed as text messages or voice messages.

[0074] Members may also interact with participating retailers directly. For example, the first member may message a participating retailer with a request for gift ideas, a proposed meeting time, the time the first member plans on visiting the participating retailer, etc. In response, the participating retailer may respond directly to the first member. For example the participating retailer may respond with suggested gifts which are available in the store, a confirmation or denial of an appointment, etc. In certain embodiments, direct communication between a member and retailers may only be initiated by the member. As such, retailers may not directly communicate with a member unless the member first initiates the communication.

[0075] As discussed above, additional location information may be used to track the member's exact location within the retail establishment. For example, very short range, local RF signals may be sent by beacons fixed at known locations within the establishment, and the portable device 120 may receive such signals from a particular beacon and notify the central server of the identity of the beacon. The central server may forward the identity of the beacon to the retailer device and the retailer device may determine based on that identity that the member is at the known location of the beacon. Alternatively, the portable device may interact via local RF signals with a local receiver in the establishment. For example, a physical membership card 210 (Figs. 1 and 2) may include an RFID tag having an identification code associated with the particular user carrying the tag, and RFID readers may be disposed throughout the establishment. An RFID reader may detect the tag and relay a signal to the central server or directly to the retailer's computer indicating that the user is at the location of the reader.

[0076] Flow diagram 600 of Fig. 6 is an example flow diagram of some of the aspects described above that may be performed by one or more computing devices, such as computing devices 110-140. In this example, at block 601 member's location information may be received, wherein the member's location information includes the member's geographical location. At block 603 a determination is made whether the member is within a preset vicinity of a participating retailer. If the member is not within a preset vicinity of a participating retailer the process return to block 601. Otherwise, an inquiry is made to the member whether the member wishes to be announced. As illustrated by block 607, upon receipt of the member's response to the inquiry, a determination is made whether to announce or not to announce the member. If the member does not wish to be announced the process is ended. Otherwise, as illustrated by block 611, the member's information, including consumer data, is sent to the participating retailer.

[0077] Flow diagram 700 of Fig. 7 is a continuation of the flow diagram 600 of Fig. 6. At block 701, the member's information is received by the participating retailer where the member is located. The retailer, as shown in block 703, may then make a determination of whether or not to engage the member. If the participating retailer wishes to engage the member, the retailer may provide a welcome message, including a location to meet an associate of the retailer as shown in block 705. Otherwise, only a welcome message may be provided to the member, as shown in block 707. In some embodiments, further notifications, as described above, may also be forwarded to the member.

[0078] The ability of participating retailers to provide notifications to members assures that the participating retailers are being noticed by their target audiences. Additionally, participating retailers which receive consumer data of members who are currently in establishments of the participating retailers, the participating retailers may provide personalized experiences to its customers. As such, the customers will more likely have a positive experience. With a positive experience, customers are more likely to spend more money at the participating retailer, return to the participating retailer for the experience, and spread word of their experience to their acquaintances.

[0079] The embodiments have been exemplified above with reference to a single member. Typically, many members and many retailers will interact with the system concurrently. Also, the embodiments discussed above have used a central server. In a further variant, the functions performed by the central server can be performed by the retailers' devices. In such an embodiment, the location information can be sent directly from the members' portable devices to the retailer's devices, and each retailer's device will send notifications and exchange the other signals as discussed above directly with the members' devices. In this alternative, the retailers' devices act on behalf of the program in much the same way as the central server. In yet another variant, system includes a central server, but notifications are not uploaded in their entirety to the server when the notifications are made available by the retailer. For each notification, the retailer's device may simply send the directional information discussed above, such as the type of notification, which is used by the server to determine if the notification should be delivered to a particular member, and a link to a location where the content can be found by the server. When the server determines that the notification should be sent to a member's portable device, the server may send the link to the portable device, without the content of the notification itself. Alternatively, the server may use the link to upload the content of the notification and send the contact to the portable device.

[0080] Most of the foregoing alternative examples are not mutually exclusive, but may be implemented in various combinations to achieve unique advantages. As these and other variations and combinations of the features discussed above can be utilized without departing from the subject matter defined by the claims, the foregoing description of the embodiments should be taken by way of illustration rather than by way of limitation of the subject matter defined by the claims. As an example, the preceding operations do not have to be performed in the precise order described above. Rather, various steps can be handled in a different order, such as reversed, or simultaneously. Steps can also be omitted unless otherwise stated. In addition, the provision of the examples described herein, as well as clauses phrased as "such as," "including" and the like, should not be interpreted as limiting the subject matter of the claims to the specific examples; rather, the examples are intended to illustrate only one of many possible embodiments. Further, the same reference numbers in different drawings can identify the same or similar elements.

Claims

1. A computer implemented method for providing notifications to members of a concierge program, the method comprising:
receiving, with one or more processors, member location information for one or more members, the member location information including data representing the geographical location of each of the one or more members;
maintaining retailer location information for one or more retailers in a memory accessible by the one or more processors,
determining, with the one or more processors:
(i) that a first member of the one or more members is within a predetermined proximity of a first retailer of the one or more retailers based on the member location information and the retailer location information; and
(ii) that a notification from the first retailer is accessible to the one or more processors; and
in response to determinations (i) and (ii) transmitting, by the one or more processors, the notification to the first member.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
prior to transmitting the notification to the first member, receiving, by the one or more processors, the first member's user preferences; and
determining, by the one or more processors, the first member's user preferences permit the notification from the first retailer, the step of transmitting the notification being performed only if the user preferences permit such notification.
3. The method of claim 2, wherein the location information is received by the one or more processors from portable devices carried by the members and the notification is sent to the portable device carried by the first member.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein the notification includes at least one of product offerings, sale information, or upcoming events at the first retailer.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein determining the first member's user preferences approve notifications from the first retailer further includes:
determining the first member's user preferences approves notifications including at least one of product offerings, sale information, or upcoming events at the first retailer.
6. The method of claim 2, wherein the member location information is received from portable devices carried by the one or more members; and
the notification is transmitted to the portable device carried by the first member.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein the portable devices are selected from the group consisting of mobile phones, tablets, netbooks navigation units.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein the predetermined proximity includes an area centered on the geographical location of the first member.
9. The method of claim 8, wherein determining the geographical location of the first member is within a predetermined proximity of the first retailer includes:
determining whether the geographical location information of the first member of the one or more member is within the area.
10. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
determining, with the one or more processors, the geographical location of the first member is within a predetermined vicinity of the geographical location information of the first retailer and transmitting consumer data associated with the first member to the first retailer.
11. The method of claim 10 further comprising:
prior to transmitting the consumer data associated with the first member to the first retailer, sending, by the one or more processors, an inquiry to the first member, wherein the first inquiry requests notification of whether or not to announce the first member to the first retailer; and
receiving by the one or more processors, an indication of whether or not to announce the first member to the first retailer; and
upon determining the first member wishes to be announced, providing, by the one or more processors, a welcome message and meeting location to the first member.
12. The method of claim 10, wherein the predetermined vicinity includes the interior of first retailer.
13. A method of providing information to a member of a concierge program comprising:
(a) transmitting a location signal representing the geographic location of the member from the device to a server operated on behalf of the program;
(b) receiving a notification signal at the device, transmitted from the server, the notification signal representing information provided by a retailer in proximity to the geographic location represented by the location signal; and
(c) displaying the information provided by the retailer on a display included in the device.
14. The method as recited in claim 13 further comprising the step of (d) transmitting an announce permission signal from the device to the server, the announce permission signal representing permission for the server to announce to the retailer that the member is present at the retailer.
15. The method as recited in claim 14 further comprising displaying on the device a request for announce permission and an indication of an action to be taken by the member to grant announce permission, the step of transmitting an announce permission signal being performed in response to the action by the member.
16. A system for providing information to a member of a concierge program comprising:
one or more processors;
portable devices adapted to be carried by the members, each of the portable devices being adapted to transmit location information representing the location of the member carrying that device to the one or more processors through a network and to receive information from the one or more processors through the network;
and a memory containing instructions in non-transitory form accessible to the one or more processors, the instructions being arranged to cause the one or more processors to:
(a) receive member location information for one or more members from the portable devices;
(b) maintain retailer location information for one or more retailers in a memory accessible by the one or more processors, and
(c) determine, with the one or more processors: (i) that a first member of the one or more members is within a predetermined proximity of a first retailer of the or more retailers based on the member location information and the retailer location information; and
(ii) that a notification from the first retailer is accessible to the one or more processors; and
(d) transmit, in response to determinations (i) and (ii), the notification to the portable device carried by the first member.
PCT/US2016/060095 2015-11-02 2016-11-02 Personal beacon WO2017079280A1 (en)

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WO2012177382A2 (en) * 2011-06-23 2012-12-27 Qualcomm Incorporated Apparatus and method for enhanced in-store shopping services using mobile device
WO2014032039A1 (en) * 2012-08-24 2014-02-27 Shopping Made Mobile, Inc. Systems for mobile devices
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