How do you talk to that many people at once?  You don’t!  You talk to them individually…

Levi’s Stadium holds nearly 70,000 people.  It cost $1.3 billion dollars to build and is billed as the most technically sophisticated event venue built to date.

At any given moment during a 49ers home game this past season, half the fans in attendance were using the Levi’s Stadium app. The app enables fans to use it for mobile ticketing, to order concessions, watch replays just a couple of seconds after a play concludes, and even buy a jersey.

In return, the franchise learns key information about their customers and uses it to personalize each fan’s experience. Retailers should take note.

“It’s something fun that has become engaging,” Paraag Marathe, the president of the 49ers, said during a keynote panel at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show conference here in New York City.

Levi’s Stadium leverages location aware apps, push notification, beacons and geo-fencing while fans are still too far away for beacon transmission.

Fans love it.  They may not think much of the 49s and their football ability right now (and we know what they think of former coach Harbaugh), but going to the stadium is like a trip to Disney coupled with Christmas all rolled up into one.

It’s exciting, when done properly – giving consumers the opportunity to feel like someone is paying attention to their needs while not creeping them out in the process.

Merchants should look at their efforts through the same lens.  What’s the best way to get attention without going overboard and scaring customers away?  How often and what type of push notifications are the best case for the average restaurant, dry cleaner, hairdresser or retail store?

What is the message the merchant wants to tell the customer?  How can they best craft an engagement opportunity that leads to increased sales and better ROI?