How to Utilize iBeacon in Grocery Stores

iBeacon in Grocery Stores
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The age of the smartphone is well underway and these days there's an app for everything, so why not the grocery store?  One of the greatest benefits of smart devices is their GPS abilities, which are already in use to do a number of tasks, from everyday navigation, location services individual apps, cataloging photos geographically, and much more.  These location type services have endless possibilities and now there's iBeacon, a technology that could revolutionize the shopping experience.

What is iBeacon

iBeacon is the latest extension of the Location Services already available on iOS devices.  This technology communicates with apps on the device about the user's current location.  Not only does it monitor the location, it can also estimate proximity to an iBeacon, whether it be a store display or a checkout counter.  It is currently compatible with iOS 7 or later versions.

Grocery Stores and iBeacon

Where this new Apple technology is ready to make a splash in grocery stores.  Why?  Businesses, like supermarkets, are able to set up transmitters that communicate with smart devices that are in the proximity, telling the device owners everything they could ever want to know about the products around them.  This could be anything from offering specials on items close by, ordering items for pickup, or sending reminders on shopping lists.  iBeacon can work in conjunction with other apps like shopping startup InMarket to send shoppers deals, rewards, or reminders.   In the world of the modern shopper, this is an opportunity for grocery stores to boost their web presence in a way that hasn't really been available before.  Simply put, it's another tool in the shopping cart. It's not just the customer, however, that's set to benefit from the technology.  Supermarkets will be privy to the most valuable resource available these days, real world analytics and instantaneous data.  For a minimal investment, grocery stores can see what people are buying, how many people are coming in and out of the store, how much time customers spend shopping, and the hot spots in the store.  Such data is an invaluable tool for optimizing the business model of any market.

A Local Search Engine

Imagine entering the grocery store, opening your smartphone and just saying what you need.  With iBeacon there's the potential to have a 'search local' function that gives the user an indoor map that shows them the shortest route to the exact product they are looking for.  On top of this, there's the potential for the device to not just locate every ingredient from a recipe, but also make recommendations of things like drink pairings.  Even with grocery stores regularly moving products around, smart technology is always savvy to the latest locations and offers the ability to finally connect the online and offline of local internet searches for products.

An Innovative Solution to Shopping Problems

The grocery store, for many people, is a chore because there are a number of seemingly inescapable problems.  First off, there's too many options in most marketplaces that people simply have a difficult time choosing or can't find the product they are actually looking for.  This leads to poor purchase decisions and painfully extended trips to the market that leaves customers exhausted.  New apps can use iBeacon technology to improve the experience by showing customers which aisle the product is located, making recommendations and thus reducing irrelevant products, remember purchasing behavior, and incorporating things like demographics and spending patterns.

Wearable Technology and the iBeacon Shopping Experience

With Apple set to release the AppleWatch this spring, there will be even more room for iBeacon and related apps to improve customer experiences in stores.  There's already some supermarkets are joining up with InMarket and utilizing the new iBeacon platform throughout their grocery store chain.  The technology will allow mobile shoppers to connect to the grocery store in a new way, allowing them to further take advantage of the apps they already love and enjoy a digitally-augmented and real-world shopping experience all at the same time.  Customers can receive special offers, find exactly the products they need to try out new and exciting recipes, and receive alerts all while walking through the grocery store.

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