Weve, the UK mobile marketing joint venture between EE, O2 and Vodafone, is trialling a new scheme that sends location-based offers to a consumer's smartphone.
 
Initial testing of the new Pouch app will be focused on the food and entertainment industries.
 
It is currently being tested by 100 people in the cafe chain Eat, with a beta version of the app expected to launch by the end of May.
 
The app sends consumers a notification telling them of special offers specific to that store and day.
 
Ultimately, Weve said it aims to replace the plastic or paper loyalty card, with retailers able to take advantage of the information Weve holds about its 22 million opted in customers across the UK's three networks.
 
Weve director Sean O'Connell said the platform, which runs on open standards, is open to “anyone that comes on board”.
 
The scheme uses Bluetooth Smart to transmit the offers to consumers, with the Eat trial marking the first time Apple's iBeacons technology has been used in the UK.
 
Weve said it would gradually increase the number of testers and number of partner retailers.
 
The Pouch app, which will be trialled at next week's Mobile World Congress, follows the announcement last week that Weve is working with Mastercard to accelerate the deployment of m-payments.
 
The JV also announced it was launching an Acceptance Network, which is where a retailer can roll its own digital loyalty scheme into the Pouch app.
 
Weve has built an API, which allows a retailer to map its own loyalty scheme into the app. From there they are able to control the types of offer and their frequency.
 
Weve said it will be able to offer data analytics to partner companies. While the retailer ultimately owns the data about the types of offers that are redeemed, Weve can marry that with the information it holds about the opted-in customers from EE, O2 and Vodafone.
 
However, information about a retailer's customer behaviour will not be shared with its competitors, it said.

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