Macy’s (NYSE:M) will soon become the first retailer to utilize Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) wireless iBeacon system in two of its major stores via a partnership with shopping app company Shopkick, reports GigaOM. Shopkick will use Apple’s iBeacon technology in small ShopBeacons that will be installed throughout two Macy’s store locations at New York City’s Herald Square and San Francisco’s Union Square.
As noted by GigaOM, Shopkick’s ShopBeacons will automatically send alerts to iPhone users via Apple’s Bluetooth Low Energy-enabled iBeacon communications standard. The system will provide a personalized, interactive shopping experience for shoppers by providing information about nearby products or special offers based on their specific location in the Macy’s store. According to Shopkick’s website, the company has “the only smartphone application capable of knowing when a consumer is physically in a store.”
As demonstrated in the video below, Shopkick app users who have opted into the service will also have their devices automatically alerted when they enter a Macy’s. According to the Wall Street Journal, this alert system will operate even if the user’s smartphone is in sleep mode. The service is currently being beta-tested by Shopkick employees, but will become available to all Shopkick app users in the next few weeks.
Macy’s announcement comes on the heels of a rumor that Apple is planning on implementing the iBeacon system in all of the company’s retail stores. According to unnamed insider sources cited by 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, Apple has already stocked up on iBeacon transmitters and will soon begin installing the devices in retail locations across the U.S. Similar to the Macy’s ShopBeacons system, the Apple Store iBeacons system will provide shoppers with details about nearby products or in-store workshops based on their location.
As noted by MacRumors, the iBeacon communications standard was first introduced as part of iOS 7’s SDK (software development kit) during this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple already utilizes the iBeacon protocol to allow users to wirelessly configure their third-generation Apple TV devices.
Macy’s and Apple Stores won’t be the only places where iPhone users will be able to take advantage of the iBeacons system. As previously reported by Mashable, Major League Baseball is also in the process of testing an iBeacons-based navigation system for some of its stadiums.
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