updated 02:33 pm EST, Wed November 20, 2013
Will trigger alerts based on locations within a store
Macy's and Shopkick have announced plans to deploy the first retail use of iBeacons, an Apple technology supported through iOS 7. Within a few weeks at Macy's stores in Herald Square, New York and Union Square, San Francisco, users of the Shopkick app will occasionally receive alerts while visiting different departments. On first entering a store, for instance, the app may suggest a variety of deals and recommendations, but narrow down those alerts after wandering into the Shoes department.
The Macy's/Shopkick system, known as shopBeacon, also makes use of user behavior tracking. If a person has previously "liked" a specific product online, shopBeacon can be set to remind them that Macy's has it in-stock.
Although iBeacon was first revealed this summer, it has seen relatively slow adoption. The first organization to announce support was Major League Baseball, which has plans to gradually link stadium beacons with its At the Ballpark app. Even Apple is only just getting deployment underway at Apple Stores. There was relatively little incentive until now, however; iOS 7 didn't launch until September 18th, and alerts are further limited to devices supporting Bluetooth Low Energy, such as the iPhone 5s and the iPad Air.