Retailers take advantage of iBeacon

iBeacon technology, the Apple iOS 7 feature that helps mobile devices track their position relative to stationary beacons by using low-frequency Bluetooth transmissions, is getting quite a bit of attention from retailers.

Grabbing their interest is not only that devices can obtain individualized information from beacons, but also that beacons can obtain individualized information from mobile devices.

Placed in stores, iBeacons also can tell retailers quite a bit about who is shopping and what they are looking for. Here are five retail chains who have taken advantage of iBeacon with pilots and rollouts so far in 2014.

Duane Reade
In May, Duane Reade placed iBeacon in its Duane Reade mobile app and launched a 10-store pilot in the New York market. The iBeacon technology pilot is part of an in-store mobile coupon initiative at Duane Reade that enables shoppers to digitally clip coupons and redeem them via a bar code on a smartphone.

The inclusion of this technology to the Duane Reade app adds such features as lock screen notifications when initially approaching a select Duane Reade store location, coupon offers based on historical data and product reviews for timely content at the point of decision. Other features include scanner options that allow for instant product scans revealing detailed item information; mobile coupon clipping for immediate redemption at POS, facilitating a seamless value-added experience via Balance Rewards; and instant Instagram 4-by-4-in. prints directly to a Duane Reade location.

Safeway and Giant Eagle
The Safeway and Giant Eagle grocery chains are both rolling out the inMarket Mobile to Mortar iBeacon location-sensing platform at more than 150 grocery stores in Seattle, San Francisco, and Cleveland, with additional retailers and markets launching in the coming months. As inMarket rolls out its iBeacon network, it will provide shoppers with features including custom coupons, loyalty rewards and grocery list reminders. For example, shoppers who opt-in can be reminded of items a spouse just placed on their shared list, earn loyalty rewards or be directed to a custom special offer.

American Eagle
American Eagle Outfitters is launching the ShopKick ShopBeacon iBeacon solution in 100 top-performing American Eagle Outfitters and Aerie stores across the country. ShopBeacon is an Apple iBeacon-based presence signal for retailers that offers customers rewards, in a currency called “kicks,” for a variety of actions they take as they go about shopping.

As shoppers enter an American Eagle Outfitters store, ShopBeacon will welcome and show them location-specific rewards, deals, discounts and product recommendations without them even having to remember to open the app. It also can tie at-home browsing behavior to in-store benefits; if the customer “likes” a specific product online, if they so choose, ShopBeacon can remind them where in the American Eagle Outfitters store that product is sold.

Chico’s FAS
Chico’s FAS is reportedly building a mobile shopping app for the iOS and Android platforms. According to the Wall Street Journal, the app will integrate with iBeacon location sensors on shelves.

This app, in pilot testing as of February 2014, would reportedly use iBeacons to notify customers who have opted in when they are near items that fit their purchase history. Associates would then use iPads to update the customer’s history.

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