Shopkick uses iBeacon tech in Macy’s pilot program

Walk into Macys’ Herald Square or Union Square store, a ShopKick notification arrives on your phone, and the marketing campaign kicks in.

Using technology Shopkick developed itself based on capabilities Apple built into its latest mobile software, customers with iPhones and even some Android handsets can have their Shopkick app “woken” up by a signal from Bluetooth transmitters when they enter the store, even if their phone is in sleep mode. As a customer who has opted in walks through the store, they might see special offers based on the products they are near, said Cyriac Roeding, Shopkick’s CEO.

Note the phrase “technology Shopkick developed itself”. This is iBeacon technology, but not Apple-made beacons.

Roeding said his transmitters, dubbed shopBeacons, were created based on a protocol embedded in Apple’s iOS 7 mobile operating software. Apple hasn’t broadly released the most recent version of iBeacon’s technical specifications.

There is so much to discover here. How will consumers react? Over time, will the notifications be seen as a benefit or marketing noise? Will this enhance the shopping experience? The potential is certainly there.