If you thought that the Minority Report depiction of how things should be sold to you was annoying, times are gearing towards it. We’ve seen how Apple is testing iBeacons in Baseball and Basketball stadiums, and even though its purpose to give you an enhanced experience of the game is quite cool, we all know there will be ads all over the place as well. Sadly, or luckily depending on how you view this, the vision doesn’t stop there, and the next frontier is retail.
At the moment it’s official that Walmart, Walgreens, and Duane Reade are all testing iBeacons that each company has installed. The idea is to engage with shoppers at the time that buying decisions are being made, in a way to provide them with useful information. In the case of Duane Reade, the statement mentions that:
“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.”
Motorola has also launched a new “MPact Platform for Mobile Marketing” that provides companies with an SDK that will help them take advantage of the iBeacon features in order to engage customers as well. This allows each company the flexibility to engage customers in more creative ways that are tailored to each store’s specific needs. The coolest thing about the feature is that it’ll also support Android phones, and not just iPhones.
It’s hard to tell when the line between useful and annoying will be crossed with iBeacons, as the fact that you’re driving close to a Duane Reade pharmacy doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re looking for one. The last thing you want is to get an unnecessary alert while you’re driving, so let’s see how this all balances out.