In 2015 AFI Palace Cotroceni, the biggest shopping mall in Romania, worked together with Zoniz to introduce a proximity marketing platform as a pilot project. It was the first mall in the country to implement beacon technology.

Planning and Implementation

We had a big task ahead: AFI Palace had 214.000 square meters and over 380 stores. The first step was to assess the location and strategically determine the placement of each beacon. The mobile app receives a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signal from the proximity beacons. Therefore, only the visitors in the nearby area receive the targeted messages. This is the perfect way to ensure that the communication is relevant. We installed 250 beacons inside AFI Palace and the process took 3 nights.

AFI Palace also had their work cut out for them. The representatives had to inform all the shops within the mall about the proximity marketing platform. The purpose was to attract them into the project in order to create content.

Involving Brands

The first challenge arose when negotiating about exclusive offers on the app. Usually, brands are discussing promotions nation-wide. They were not prepared to customize them for the new concept that was the proximity marketing platform.

An example of a solution is the collaboration with the fashion brand Reserved. LPP/Reserved worked with us for all their stores in Romania located in shopping malls across the country. Together they have implemented a total of 10 campaigns.

There were 62 brands engaged in the AFI Palace project from all categories: fashion, beauty, food and coffee, kid stores, electronics. There were two types of offers:  promotions similar to the ones already in their stores or exclusive offers only for the Zoniz users. The second type of campaigns were the most successful. Among them, Starbucks differentiated itself with the most efficient promotion. The customers passing by right in front of the store would be the only ones receiving it. For every coffee they bought, they got one extra coffee for free. Starbucks had 51% of the collected vouchers.

Campaigns in AFI mall
Some of the promotions in the Zoniz app available in AFI mall.

The stores had their own accounts on the Zoniz platform and they could create their own campaigns. We offered our support as well. Within their accounts, the brands could also see real-time statistics and collect user data that they could use in future newsletters or promotions.

Advertising and Communication

Zoniz app was launched at AFI Palace on July 2nd 2015. The attendees were both press representatives and bloggers. The goal was to present the new proximity marketing platform and showcase how it could be used. The concept was to take the participants on an electric train ride inside the mall, similar to a touristic tour. The train would stop by the mall’s most important attractions. At the right location, the visitors would get notifications on their phones with different information or vouchers. Within a few days a lot of articles appeared in the media about the new app at AFI mall. The launch created awareness about Zoniz.

Zoniz and AFI Palace representatives at the launch event
Zoniz and AFI Palace representatives presenting the proximity marketing app to the press at the launch event.

AFI Palace had promoted the Zoniz app by filling up the mall with roll-ups and banners. There were also promoters hired to inform visitors about how they could download the app, turn their Bluetooth on and take advantage of the exclusive promotions. A challenge that we had to face together with AFI was the fact that the employees within the participating stores would often miss the opportunity to engage with the customers and promote the app.

Roll-ups and floor ads
Roll-ups and floor ads announcing Zoniz app in the AFI Palace Cotroceni mall.

Besides the brands’ promotions, AFI Palace also engaged with the visitors. The mall sent welcome messages, news and updates and organized contests. They had a campaign that would ask the shoppers passing by in front of the location to check-in and share it on their social media accounts. The participants had the possibility to win a vacation in Greece. The promotion lasted for 15 days, it collected over 600 app installations and more than 500 views. Other campaigns offered prizes for answering a poll, asked visitors to search for Christmas elves or gave the possibility to win a free parking spot at the mall.


Through Zoniz, the stores from AFI Palace mall increased their engagement with potential clients up to 25% without any further promotional effort. Zoniz generated increased visitor traffic in the stores and a clear increase in sales.

By the end of the project there were 12.200 people in the database, 9.210 app users and the most successful campaign had a 30.340 user reach. This campaign was targeted towards students and offered the winners 10 months of free rent. In 1 year of partnership AFI Palace mall implemented 6 major campaigns and offered shoppers more than 100 promotions and engaging content. There were 123 media appearances for AFI Palace Cotroceni, all being positive articles.

AFI Cotroceni has been a great match for Zoniz app and together they have lead the way towards smart retail solutions in the country.

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