Walgreens-owned drugstore chain Duane Reade announced today that it’s updating its iPhone app with support for iBeacons it recently installed in 10 of its New York city locations. It and Walmart are just two of the latest big name chains said to be testing the technology, while Motorola Solutions announced today its own indoor location platform that includes a combination of Bluetooth iBeacons and Wi-Fi based features.
Like other implementations that we’ve seen in retail and grocery stores, Duane Reade has installed the Bluetooth iBeacons in order to beam offers, coupons and product info to customers in proximity that have the company’s iPhone app installed:
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The addition of iBeacon to the Duane Reade app vastly improves the customer in-store user experience. iBeacon is a technology Apple introduced with iOS 7 that uses Bluetooth Low Energy and geo-fencing to provide apps a new level of micro-location awareness, such as trail markers in a park, exhibits in a museum or product displays in stores. The inclusion of this technology to the Duane Reade app adds features such as lock screen notifications when initially approaching a select Duane Reade store location, coupon offers based on historical data and product reviews for timely content at the point-of-decision. iBeacon will initially be available at 10-select Duane Reade stores in Manhattan to test the viability of a further rollout.
A report over the weekend from IndoorLBS notes that Walmart is also testing iBeacons, but the tech is still in the lab and not yet in stores for customers to take advantage of: Walmart said they are “pretty excited about iBeacons, knowing where a customer is often helps us serve them better.” Acknowledging that “90% of retail still happens in store and it has to do with proximity,” Walmart looks to iBeacons for re-inventing its stores.
We’ve reached out to Walmart for comment and we’ll update if we hear back.
Motorola Solutions is another announcing iBeacon related product today with its new MPact Platform for Mobile Marketing. The company says its “the first of its kind to offer both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® Smart technology to engage with shoppers in the aisle when buying decisions are being made,” but that combination will notably include Bluetooth smart beacons that use Apple’s iBeacon protocol. It’s releasing SDKs for implementing the platform on both iOS and Android.
While iBeacon has mostly been adopted by retailers installing their own iBeacon hardware in stores like Duane Reade, others are embracing platforms like inMarket, a company installing iBeacons in various retailers and opening up the platform to more than just the store owner. Perhaps the pilot at Duane Reade stores will lead to a larger roll out of iBeacon tech at other Walgreens stores.
There’s a list of specific locations with iBeacons installed in the company’s press release.