Today at Dx3, Canada’s largest digital marketing, advertising and retail event here in Toronto, I got a look at the iPhone and iBeacon-powered future of shopping courtesy of a few companies about to launch a number of innovative mobile solutions for retailers. The show floor consisted of a full-size concept store powered by iBeacon technology and mobile retail app platform ThirdShelf as well as some interesting new products that could soon completely revolutionize the way we shop using our mobile devices. 

The concept store was setup for vintage luxury retailer LXR & Co., one of the first retailers using a mobile app platform from ThirdShelf that acts as a one-stop shop for companies interested in building an interactive shopping experience powered by iOS devices and iBeacons. Rather than deploy iBeacons and develop your own app from the ground up to interact with them, ThirdShelf lets small and medium sized businesses quickly build an app that interacts with iBeacons and easily create and manage promotions and loyalty programs using its white-label solution.

Using iBeacon and Thirdshelf technology, LXR & Co.’s mobile app is able to make relevant in-store recommendations, scan products, interact with store associates’ devices, push geolocated discounts and offers, and incorporates a next-generation mobile loyalty program.

The concept store was equipped with iBeacons from Estimote, as well as iPad displays that act as iBeacons and also run the ThirdShelf software. As you’ll see in the video below, the iPhone recognizes the iBeacons as we walk around the store and allows iOS to beam greetings, promotions, and related offers through the app. As we approach the iPad displays in the store that are also setup to act as iBeacons (even with the iPhone in our pocket), the ThirdShelf software displays a customized experience based on the user’s shopping habits, wishlist, etc, allowing them to browse the store shelves, get product info and more. When moving to the cash register, the point-of-sale system from LightSpeed recognizes the app and displays that customer’s promotions, loyalty points, etc. Ecommerce features are powered by Shopify and there is also a sales associate version of the app that lets staff see who is in the store, what they’ve purchased before, and browse inventory.

ThirdShelf is working with a select number of retail partners that are about to roll out the experience and is letting interested retailers sign-up on its site ahead of public availability later this year. It’s also planning to allow payments to be completed directly from the app in the near future. As for pricing, the company plans to charge a monthly subscription that will be based on the volume of users in any given retail store but hasn’t disclosed specifics.

On top of interactive displays and iBeacon technology, another interesting mobile focused retail technology at the show was Hointer’s Whoosh Fitting Room and eTags. Scan an item in the store with your phone, select a size or multiple sizes in the app, and Hointer’s robotics will have the items waiting for you in a change room. From there you use an app to select other sizes that automatically pop out a chute for you to try on. When you’re finished, you deposit items you don’t want into another chute and they get automatically removed from your shopping cart in the app. You can then pay for items you do want in the app without ever having to visit a cash register. A video demo of how the fitting rooms work is below:

Hointer is already testing this system in a couple Levis stores in the U.S. and hopes to roll out to other retailers in the future.

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9 Responses to “Hands-on with the iPhone & iBeacon-powered future of shopping [Video]”

  1. You have bluetooth, but you have to scan a huge barcode hanging off the item, and it only works in one orientation??? OK, you lost me, see ya.


  2. Wooh! Consumerism! We need to slow down before people start going crazy about cheap prices. Oh wait…


  3. yeaaaa they should have left that first demo out. I think that was them just tossing in some other thing unrelated to ibeacon.


  4. Oflife says:

    That was so incredibly uninteresting. Sorry. There are far better less tacky ways to harness beacons. (We’ve been working on the idea for over 10 years.)


  5. No way that’s an iPhone in any of the photos above ……..


  6. Great News ! But IBeacon has some limitations. GLIIF and iBeacon creates the best possible solution for retail by adding a branded visual element to the shopping experience which the consumer ops to engage with..http://www.gliif.com

    A quick note on GLIIF. We are in BETA. It is a free service for mobile users which includes social networking images and an embedded contact GLIIF in the app.

    Our business model supports generous revenue sharing programs for partners and we are currently looking to establish reliable connections there.


  7. armandsla says:

    And how exactly that in-store iPad helps me finding stuff?


  8. kpuntney6 says:

    This concept of shopping using iBeacons and scanning is already available in the iOS appstore via “appay” and “appay biz”. I think it’s done way even better than ThirdShelf’s demo


  9. S (@mul3n) says:

    Wow, this seriously looked awful!