Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) has rolled out a new tracking technology called iBeacon in all 254 of its U.S. retail stores. The location-sensing service uses a Bluetooth connection to detect customers' Apple phones and tablets when they enter the store and send notifications with product suggestions, tips and promotions.
In order for customers to receive the iBeacon messages, they must have downloaded the Apple Store app and given it permission to send notices based on location. The transmitters use Bluetooth wireless technology to get precise information about customers' location within the store so shoppers receive detailed product updates right as they walk near specific product displays.
The iBeacon technology also notifies a customer if an item they ordered is ready for pickup. Even without the iBeacon feature enabled, the app also lets customers scan and pay for some items using their iPhone, get customer service help and reserve products.
Apple is not the first retailer to use customer-tracking sensors in stores. In November, Macy's launched a trial run with Shopkick's new ShopBeacon technology, which will help the company connect with smartphone-wielding shoppers when they enter stores. When shoppers who have the Shopkick app on their phone enter a Macy's store, they receive a pop-up reminder to launch the app and receive rewards and coupons.
Apple's iBeacon could be expanding to other retailers and companies, too. The technology is already being tested at some Major League Baseball stadiums to send notifications to baseball fans about automatic check-ins, video snippets, ticket availability, coupons and special offers.
-See this Digital Trends article
-See this Business Insider article
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