ShopKick has debuted shopBeacon, a retail bluetooth transmitter that uses Apple's iBeacon technology to help find items that shoppers want. The shopBeacon is currently in a closed beta in two Macy's stores, one in San Francisco and the other in New York. Using BlueTooth LE, ShopKick will be able to let users know when their close to the department containing the item they want when their in the store. This builds off of ShopKicks current system that allowed retailers to send information and deals to customers through an in-store product similar to the shopBeacon, accroding to TechCrunch:
Offers now will be pinged to users right when they are walking past them, or past a department that contains products that users have shown interest in before. And for those who have opted in, the iBeacon technology will also automatically open the app and can trigger other actions when you enter a participating store, such as telling users how many loyalty points they currently have to redeem towards a purchase (in the past users would have had to remember to do this themselves).
ShopBeacon will receive a wider rollout in the near future. ShopKick will be expanding the initiative to more of its retail partners, including American Eagle Outfitters, BestBuy, and Old Navy. The shopBeacon is aimed at improving the physical shopping experience, and bringing back customers who have moved online. ShopBeacon will have an SDK to allow retailers to customize alerts that are sent through the beacon.
This is the first major implementation of iBeacon technology in retail. It's been reported that Apple will soon have a similar system in place at their own retail stores, but it's not in place yet. Neither of these systems allow for payments yet, focusing instead on helping customers navigate stores.
Are you excited by this announcement, and do you look forward to more companies finding ways to use iBeacons? Let us know in the comments.