Much the same as in retail and grocery store locations where it’s already being used, Apple’s iBeacon is being rolled out in 10 Duane Reade locations in New York City to offer promotions, content and coupons to shoppers in-store. The drugstore chain, owned by parent company Walgreens, recently announced that their iPhone app is being upgraded to support iBeacon and offer their customers coupons and product info when they’re inside a Duane Reade store outfitted with the new technology.
It was also recently announced that Walmart is testing the new technology as well but, for the time being, it remains in the lab. A spokesperson for the retail giant said that Walmart is “pretty excited about iBeacons, knowing where a customer is often helps us serve them better.” (Ironically, finding a salesperson for advice or help in Walmart is still as difficult as ever.)
Walmart has high hopes that Apple’s GPS location technology will help them to reinvent the way customers shop at their stores as well as give a much-needed boost to sales which, over the last several years, have begun to drop sharply. The retailer was quick to acknowledge that “90% of retail still happens in store and it has to do with proximity.”
Another product announcement related to the iBeacon is the new MPact Platform for mobile marketing from Motorola Solutions. Motorola says that Mpact will be the “first of its kind to offer both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Smart technology to engage with shoppers in the aisle when buying decisions are being made.”
The combination that Motorola is going to be using includes both Bluetooth smart beacons that in turn are running off of the protocol from Apple’s iBeacon. The tech manufacturer also announced that they’ll soon be releasing SDKs so that the platform can be implemented on both the iOS and Android platform.
Much like Apple’s technology has been co-opted by other manufacturers in the past, the iBeacon is being used in concert with other platforms like the one being offered from inMarket. Rather than installing their own iBeacon hardware like most retailers, including Duane Reade, have been doing, inMarket instead offers their own platform running the iBeacon technology that gives access to more than just the owner of the store.
As more and more retailers began to adopt this new consumer location ID technology, it’s expected that their content, promotions and advertisements will change accordingly. The ability to engage with customers as they are actually in store making purchases might seem like something out of a science fiction movie, but it’s here and happening now and this is only just the beginning.