Macy's begins pilot test of Apple's iBeacon in flagship New York, San Francisco stores

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
One of America's oldest retailers is among the first to deploy Apple's iBeacons as Macy's has begun a pilot program with the state-of-the-art Bluetooth-based microlocation system.

shopBeacon


The 155-year-old department store chain has partnered with Redwood City, Calif.-based Shopkick to install iBeacons transmitters --?called shopBeacons --?throughout the chain's flagship Midtown Manhattan and San Francisco locations, reports GigaOm. Shopkick's technology will allow Macy's to track shoppers' movements throughout the stores, serving up different offers based on the floor or department the customer is in.

In addition to one-off location-based alerts, Shopkick and Macy's are using the shopBeacons technology to tie customers' at-home shopping with their in-store visits. "If [a customer] "likes" a specific product in the app, shopBeacon can remind her when she enters the store that sells it," according to Shopkick.

Shopkick says the shopBeacon hardware, which is encased in a palm-sized enclosure with a rounded dome, can run for up to five years on a single battery. Once the Macy's trial is complete, Shopkick will begin rolling the product out to their other retail partners, with each shopBeacon sporting a price tag of around $40.



Other major non-retail organizations have also embraced iBeacons. In September, Major League Baseball announced plans to use iBeacons to enhance fans' experience in the ballpark, demonstrating their long-term goal with a pilot installation at the New York Mets' Citi Field.

Apple quietly introduced iBeacons alongside iOS 7 at July's Worldwide Developers Conference, and the Bluetooth Low Energy-based technology was quickly recognized for its potential to revolutionize location services with its low power requirements and ability to precisely pinpoint users' locations inside buildings. Many believe it could form the basis of a new iTunes-powered mobile payments system, similar to what Google has attempted to create with the NFC-based Google Wallet.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 73
    1) Spooky, being tracked in a store

    2) Can't wait for Dick to show us his implementation

    3) I like Burberry, where they show additional colours of a dress in the mirror when the woman tries it out in the fitting room
  • Reply 2 of 73
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

    This would be great at Home Depot.  I can never find the AC filters


    Absolutely! Or how about at the grocery store. It scans your shopping list and plans out your route and alerts you when you have reached the item. It keeps a running total $ as you go.

     

    I would hope that it is an opt in type of service. Or I guess I mean you can shut it down when you don't want to be targeted or tracked while shopping. I am cool with it as long as I have full control of MANY privacy settings. 

  • Reply 3 of 73
    Does Apple make these? If so, where do they sell them?
  • Reply 4 of 73
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    Walking around a store looking at my phone strikes me as a bad experience. Either use an app like Amazon to buy stuff online or walk into a store and open your eyes.
  • Reply 5 of 73
    Originally Posted by techno View Post

    Or how about at the grocery store.

     

    Ooh, grocery stores will never do this. They’re designed to get you as lost as possible so you’ll buy more. They put the highest traffic items in the back so you’re forced to walk past everything else and go, “Say, mesquite flavor potato chips… What is mesquite? Maybe it’s made from mosquitoes…” No clocks, no windows, no easily accessible exits, and they rotate shelf content roughly once a month to keep people searching.

     

    It works on idiots, at least.

     

    I would hope that it is an opt in type of service. Or I guess I mean you can shut it down when you don't want to be targeted or tracked while shopping. I am cool with it as long as I have full control of MANY privacy settings. 



     

    Bingo.

     

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

    Walking around a store looking at my phone strikes me as a bad experience.


     

    So why not have audio alerts from your pocket? Either a preset tone or have Siri speak it to you. “Hey, you just passed the milk. Get 1% this time, fatty.”

  • Reply 6 of 73
    antkm1antkm1 Posts: 1,441member

    Minority Report is coming true.

  • Reply 7 of 73
    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

    Competition will force change.  Look what Costco/Amazon has done.  Once a big grocery store adapts this everyone else will have to or face the consequences of being behind


     

    Gosh, I’d hope so. 

     

    I wrote a post a year or two back about how Apple could completely reinvent the entire concept of a store from front end to back and the supply chain in between, not to mention also reinventing and streamlining R&D for products themselves. I’ll never find it again, and I can’t remember what I said, but my thoughts on the matter haven’t changed since. Apple needs to do this. They’re the only company that has the power to get people to actually use such a system.

  • Reply 8 of 73
    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

    Rome wasn't built in a day.  We need these small steps first before you grand plan can be a reality.


     

    I’m not contesting that. I think iBeacon will shape up to be a widely used service.

  • Reply 9 of 73
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    well crap. like others, i'm hoping that it will be used to help me find what i'm looking for. but instead, right out of the gate, it's being used to track me and market to me. no thanks.
  • Reply 10 of 73
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,244member
    Retail is dead. I will never go into a Macy's ever again. I was treated like crap last time I was in one. Buy everything I can online. Free ship, and in many cases, no tax.

    I would buy groceries online as well, but it is actually easier and faster to plan a week's menu on paper, then zip to the store I've been using for 10 years. I know where everything is, and at a glance can compare sale items. Oddly enough, that's the one application that doesn't match online, but fairly, only because I am so familair with the store and products.

    Bold prediction: retail in America will be a niche/ oddity in 50 years. Kinda like landlines and fax machines. They have a place, but only narrow applications.
  • Reply 11 of 73
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,442member

    What, it's not in JC Penny's first?

  • Reply 12 of 73
    Soon, money strapped police dept will issue tickets on shopping with the usage of an electronic device
  • Reply 13 of 73

    I'm surprised Macy's didn't get them in red and star shaped.  Branding.

     

    Personally, I'd like a bit more 'concierge' service.  If you are beaconing, I'd want a sales associate come right up to me and 'take over' and have an iPad with my previous purchases (sizes.... I never remember my wife's size in Jones New York vs INC.), my wish list, and most importantly, INVENTORY.  My famous question of "Do you have this in 'nnn' size makes every Macy's employee cringe (by first appearances I'm quite proportional... so much so that people think I'm 40lbs lighter than what I am... that 17 1/2 37sleeve Xtra Tall torso Athletic Cut shirt is quite rare in the wild).   Waiting until the come from the back room is so aggravating.

  • Reply 14 of 73
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,030member
    I'll be interested in seeing the comments from iPhone users who dislike data mining/tracking when they first make the connection between something they looked for on-line somewhere being advertised to them while in a Macy's store over Apple's iBeacon. That may be the moment a light bulb comes on.
  • Reply 15 of 73
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,442member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post



    I'll be interested in seeing the comments from iPhone users who dislike data mining/tracking when they first make the connection between something they looked for on-line somewhere being advertised to them while in a Macy's store over Apple's iBeacon. That may be the moment a light bulb comes on.

    Yes, that's when they'll say Google really missed out on an opportunity. Buy AAPL!

  • Reply 16 of 73
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,030member
    cpsro wrote: »
    Yes, that's when they'll say Google really missed out on an opportunity. Buy AAPL!

    Sorry, but Google is also jumping on the Beacon bandwagon as is every other big retailer, advertiser and data tracking company. iBeacons is just Apple's implementation. BLE-enabled Android and Windows phones will be tracked just as surely as iPhones, and all of them on a much more personal and identifiable level than we probably want possible if we stopped to think about it.

    Remember when cookie's were considered an offensive and intrusive tracking tool? We'll end up longing for the days when we thought those were our worst privacy concern.
  • Reply 17 of 73
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,442member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post



    Sorry, but Google is also jumping on the Beacon bandwagon.

    Sorry, but this isn't nearly as creepy as Goople. At least for the time being, it requires Shopkicks to be installed... and what do users who install the app expect? Where is Googol anyway?

    I know... Gargle is going to be in JC Pennys.

  • Reply 18 of 73
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member

    I'd kill for this in museums. NYC's AMNH has a try at it, a good first effort but so early days.

     

    http://www.amnh.org/apps/explorer

     

    Actually reading the current description it's been substantially upgraded since I last used it.

  • Reply 19 of 73
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

     

    Competition will force change.  Look what Costco/Amazon has done.  Once a big grocery store adapts this everyone else will have to or face the consequences of being behind


     

    Costco stores are also an all-day shopping experience. They move things around often enough to force you to do a complete walkthrough every time you go.

  • Reply 20 of 73
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    Sorry, but Google is also jumping on the Beacon bandwagon.

     

    Link?

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