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

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.

TOPICS: Networking
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)

Topic: Networking

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  • Pretty sad state of affairs...

    When you need technology to find cat food in a grocery store.

    This is a solution looking for a problem, and other than beaming you spammed ads, I don't see anything useful coming from this technology.

    • Locations

      See, that's where you'd be wrong. There are quite a few items that you'd think would be in a particular place but for whatever reason the store would have it somewhere else.

      It'd be nice to be able to tell the app that I am looking for X and have it tell me where I could find it.
      • It could help you find the iBacon

    • You're right in that it is a sad state of affairs

      If you look at all this tech lately, it seems these companies are creating technologies that separates you from those around you. iBeacon, Google Glasses, ect.

      Now you need not even ask a human where the cat food is, just ask iBeacon! With RFID checkout, you never need interact with anyone, ever again at the store! Just you and your phone! Facebook or text your friends, no need to actually call and speak to them.

      Life is just getting so much better, and "social". :)

      I have to admit, I'm curious about one thing - will the lonely nerds still ram women's shopping carts with theirs to meet them, or will they just start bumping phones?
      • That's actually what i had in mind...

        Mindless idiots pushing a cart around a store banging into people, items on the shelves, etc...

  • Annoying

    Apples spam system means more annoying people reading junk on their phone. No thanks, what a waste of money. Last thing anyone wants is more spam. Put a 10 cent NFC tag on store shelfs so users can optionally and cheaply get product info if wanted.
    Sean Foley
  • Thats your iLot.

    It will be iSpamming and iTouting

    You can have it all if you want to, well iWont.
  • More ads

    It is promoted as indoor location technology but in the end it would be just one more channel for ads. Phone would scream at you that this or that item is on sale. Everything in the end becomes just a channel for ads.
    • Duh...

      This is exactly where ads should the store. Not when I'm trying to watch a video or use an app. This is exciting tech and quite useful. So all those dissing it just because it is Apple need to realize it is in millions of other non Apple devices as well.
  • Shopper's nightmare

    Quite frankly, I could use the ability to know exactly where to find what I'm looking for in a superstore, but that's all I'd need it for. If the tech could be refined to "Please tell me where to find X" without being told about the next 30% off, then I'd consider it.
    Pete Weatherley