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Brief Published: 4 Dec 2013

Mobile Marketing Gets Personal at Macy’s

Tapping into the growing consumer desire for personalised retail services, US department store Macy’s is trialling ShopBeacons – a micro location-based marketing service devised by US shopping rewards app Shopkick – in its New York and San Francisco flagships.

Using a combination of Apple’s iBeacon hardware and Shopkick’s own software, ShopBeacons are Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmitters that enable micro location services to trigger actions, such as sending notifications to mobile devices. The service is only available to shoppers who have opted in, ensuring consumers are not bombarded with unwanted marketing material. The system is compatible with Android and IOS devices (the use of Apple’s hardware does not limit its usage to Apple products).

ShopBeacons can transmit targeted discounts, recommendations and rewards to specific departments or aisles of a retail location – without having to open the Shopkick app. It can be used, for example, to alert a customer when they are approaching a sweater they’ve been looking at on a store’s website (and then ‘liked’ via Macy’s app), or to inform them of deals on items that match their shopping history and are in their immediate vicinity. 

For more BLE systems that combine targeted marketing and data metrics, see Movement Mapping Reveals Deeper Consumer Habits in Data Tracking, part of our Future of the Store Industry Trend.

Shopkick has been using radio signals to reward customers for walking into stores for some time. The BLE transmitters offer increased functionality, thanks to their extra sensitivity. The transmitters can be programmed to work at distances of 3 ft to 100 ft – helping to reach consumers with more location-relevant information, as well as direct them around the store as they move from beacon to beacon (see also Innovations in Wayfinding).

The transmitters also use a secure encrypted connection, which may allow them to be used for contactless payment transactions at a later date (see New Transactions Technologies, publishing on December 6).

For more on full-circle retailing, see The Omni-Channel Store Space, also in Future of the Store.