All Hail the Beacons! This Bluetooth Low Energy technology is getting hotter by the day. Lets Talk Payments had recently written about Apple’s intention to introduce the iBeacon Technology at its retail stores. There is a stripped down version of that concept already in the market. 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.
Shopkick was founded in June 2009 by Cyriac Roeding (CEO), Jeff Sellinger (CPO) and Aaron Emigh (CTO). The company has received a total funding of $20 Mn through investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, SV Angel, Citi Growth Ventures, Greylock Partners and Linkedin Founder, Reid Hoffman.
Shopkick is a shopping app that lets users flag items they want and then alerts them in store to offers on those products and others that the user might like. Shopkick is the first to establish the iBeacon technology in a retail outlet. ShopBeacons will enable Macy’s to track the customers movements and provide different offers.
This is a video showing how the ShopBeacon will work at Macy’s:
The technology makes use of Low Energy Bluetooth (BLE) to enable microlocation services.
The hardware required for installation requires minimum investment and can be done by attaching the device to a flat surface such as wall or table. It has a 5 year battery life. Retailers such as Best Buy and Old Navy have also signed up says Shopkick.
If the user likes a certain product on the retailer’s app, the Beacon can inform him if that item is available or as soon as he enters the store.
The shopBeacon technology also comes with a Software Development Kit (SDK) for retailers and brands to customize what discounts, alerts and loyalty points are sent via iBeacon.
The update for Macy’s new ShopBeacon Technology and Shopkick app are stated to go live in a few weeks.
On the pricing however, Shopkick’s CEO Cyriac Roeding says that the company does not plan on integrating payments into process. “Services like PayPal’s Beacons are all about payments. We’re focusing on the shopping experience” he said.
Trials begin at Macy’s stores in Union Square, San Francisco and Herald Square, NYC today. Shopkick is set to roll out the technology to more of its retail partners across the U.S such as Best Buy, American Eagle Outfitters , Crate and Barrel, Old Navy, JCPenney, Target and The Sports Authority among others.