Back in September 2013, we wrote about Apple introducing iBeacons and how it will help Commerce and Payments industry. With the launch of iOS 7, retailers and other small to medium enterprises could potentially use this Bluetooth 4.0 based tech and there was nothing better than Apple’s own stores to start with. On December 6, Apple surprised everyone by starting the use of iBeacons across its 254 US retail stores. Today (January 7th, 2014) inMarket is starting its huge rollout of iBeacons across grocery stores such as Giant Eagle and Safeway.
The entire idea behind implementation of Apple iBeacons is to help in enhancing the customer experience when they visit a store. It keeps the customer aware about products, events and other information through messages. When the customer visits the store it will guide him in picking up an order.
The iBeacons will be utilized by inMarket’s apps in a number of ways as part of its Mobile to Mortar program. With their Mobile to Mortar service, grocers can remind shoppers of items they might like to buy, display shopping lists based on shopper location and serve reward opportunities to them. The service will be in operation at over 150 grocery stores in San Francisco, Seattle and Cleveland.
This gives you an overview of the inMarket Mobile to Mortar iBeacon Market:
Some of The Features of Apple iBeacon:
- It helps the user in making the online orders through their phone.
- With Apple iBeacons user can read product reviews and buys accessories.
- It helps in checking the stock availability.
- Purchase good for collection after visiting the store.
Apple said iBeacon provides apps with “a whole new level of micro-location awareness, such as trail markers in a park, exhibits in a museum, or product displays in stores.” You’ll see solutions implementing this in museums, at festivals, in bars. Enter the era of next generation location apps and products.
What if you get accidentally charged by walking past a storefront? iBeacons technology is extremely accurate at tracking distance between devices, so a cash register could be set to ignore all customers except the one standing right in front of counter.
Will it be secure? Apple will encrypt all information before sending it through any system. In the case of BLE, it will be Apple encryption send through an additional AES-128 path. So very secure then one could imagine.
Can it read Android devices? No, but Android app developers are already working on a software that will enable Android to work with iBeacon according to some media sources.
“Besides Apple themselves, we are the first to take this groundbreaking technology out of beta tests and into consumers’ lives throughout the heartland of the US,” said Todd Dipaola, Co-Founder and CEO of inMarket.
We see iBeacons becoming a billion dollar business in itself. If Apple can bring the entire commerce and payments experience into the hand of customers that will Omni-Channel retail at its best. Some believe that iBeacons will become atleast as successful as Passbook with several retailers utilizing this technology especially in the US. On 20th November 2013, Redwood City, Calif. based Shopkick announced a partnership with Macy’s to deploy iBeacon transmitters or ‘ShopBeacons’ throughout the 155 year old departmental stores chain’s in Manhattan and San Francisco.
Recently, Apple had announced that Major League Baseball (MLB)is all set to integrate iBeacons at their stadiums in 2014. Deeper integration into future iOS updates along with new features and apps can be expected.