Shopkick Hints At Some of iBeacon’s Potential For Retailers

A test from shopping rewards app Shopkick has revealed some details regarding how Apple’s forthcoming Bluetooth location-sensing technology ‘iBeacon’, could potentially work for retailers. According to The Wall Street Journal, Shopkick has placed several Bluetooth transmitters it designed in a few departments of Macy’s stores in New York and San Francisco, that can have their app “woken” up on customers’ iPhones and even some Android handsets.

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Cyriac Roeding, Shopkick’s CEO said that when a customer who has opted in walks through the store, he might see special offers based on the products he is near to. The test, just among Shopkick employees first, will last for several weeks before being rolled out to a wider group, he added. At a San Francisco Macy’s, he also demonstrated how the transmitters, which Shopkick said had a five year battery life, sent discount offers to his phone because he was standing in the women’s handbag department.

“You might get an offer for 30% off an item you’ve said you like right when you walk into the bags section,” said Roeding. He said Shopkick had been working on the technology for more than a year, in part to ensure customers remember to turn on their phones when they enter stores.

Roeding said his transmitters, dubbed shopBeacons, were created based on a protocol embedded in Apple’s iOS 7 mobile operating software. Apple hasn’t broadly released the most recent version of iBeacon’s technical specifications.

Apple’s iBeacon technology surely has the potential for broad applications in retail stores, such as targeted coupons, in-store directions or even instructional videos about the products available in store.