From mobile to mortar: Apple's iBeacon lands in U.S. grocery stores

Summary:Two grocery store chains are utilizing the latest iPhone technology for indoor geolocation technology. The potential is already beginning to show, by increasing sales and in-store engagement.

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iBeacon at the Mets game Image: CNET

Let's face it. Nobody really enjoys grocery shopping that much. It might though — with a little help from Apple's latest Bluetooth technology — soon become that little bit more interesting.

Mobile shopping startup InMarket has begun using Apple's indoor geolocation and navigation technology iBeacon in efforts to drive engagement with shoppers, by dishing out rewards, grocery list reminders, and other deals for in-store customers.

iBeacon is a Bluetooth-based technology that uses short-range transmitters to notify iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices within a 100-feet radius of a transmitter. It can guide in-store customers around a shop or supermarket where GPS and satellite-based technologies are not available.

About 20 million already use InMarket apps. For those walking around Safeway and Giant Eagle stores laden with Bluetooth beacons in Seattle, San Francisco, and Cleveland, brick-and-mortar customers will be able to receive helpful messages and notes around the store.

It could be that you have "detergent" and "cat food" on the list, and as you're walking past the aisle the app reminds you what you need, and which shelf your favorite brand is on.

Dubbed "mobile to mortar," the technology only works with the app and if the iOS device user accepts notifications from the beacons.

The technology has so far been used in Major League Baseball (you can read more about this on sister-site CNET), and Apple's own retail stores .

(via Associated Press)

Topics: Networking

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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