In an ever changing retail environment, you may soon see a new feature at your local retail store. It may take a while, but Apple has been hard at work developing a new technology called the iBeacon. Simply put, this is a located based program (think customized GPS) that can connect with an iPhone to guide customers while in a retail setting.
Major League Baseball has incorporated this into a test run through its Mobile App. Once the app is downloaded and guests approach a ball field, the iBecaon can detect their location and offer personalized information, including how to find their seat, and other relevant information in the form of video and text. It was on a trial basis with the Mets, and is anticipated to be rolled out next year. The article talks about how it is personalized for each ballpark, and for each guest based on their entrance and seating within the stadium.
As for retail stores, the possibilities are quite exciting. The iBeacon is gearing up for launch at Apple stores, and the app is being updated to allow customers an easier shopping experience. The location of items can be easily found, and customers will be able to retrieve product and pricing information, right on their phone.
If this proves successful, how will this translate into the retail world? It’s quite possibly going to be a slow adaptation, similar to the use of social media and mobile in retail; however, this could be one addition that will provide customers with that more simplified shopping experience. Being provided with indoor maps and customized information about the store they are shopping in, especially if they are a first time customer, can give them incentive to return. It sounds like this may be able to be easily integrated into mobile apps, as is the case with Major League Baseball, so its something for retailers who are already engaged in mobile to look at to add to their toolbox for yet another enhancement for the customer experience.
As Apple launches the iBeacon, we will eagerly await the results of its success or challenges. Once it launches at Apple, it’ll be telling to see how it is embraced by retailers nationwide.