inMarket today begins rolling out iBeacons to its grocery stores, including Safeway and Giant Eagle locations in Seattle, San Francisco, and Cleveland. The Bluetooth LE beacons will be installed at the entryway of over 200 stores in the near future.
Those iBeacons will be used in a variety of ways by inMarket’s apps initially as a part of its Mobile To Mortar program, and then partners down the road. The primary goal is to reach shoppers who they know with absolute surety are walking in or right near a store in order to maximize the effectiveness of messaging.
Beacons are small devices, slightly larger than a quarter, that contain a Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy radio and a small circuit board. The devices emit short-range signals that are picked up by devices such as Apple’s iPhone, and the signals are interpreted by apps such as inMarkets current apps, and then trigger an alert or another action.
iBeacons support was added to iOS 7 last year, and currently Apple and retailer Macy’s are known to be installing the devices in their retail stores. Major League Baseball is also reported to be installing iBeacon technology in their ballparks in order to improve the fan experience.
iBeacons technology is hyper-local. You have to be in a close proximity of the beacon to receive an alert. Thus they are perfect for use by retailers wishing to alert customers to deals in a certain section of the store.
inMarket is using the iBeacon tech in conjunction with their branded apps, allowing the beacons to alert only shoppers who have “opted-in” by downloading the app to their device.