How iBeacon, Wearables Change Search And The Retail Experience

Target has not landed on a specific strategy or provider when it comes to using iBeacons in its stores, but you can hear the excitement in Dave Peterson's voice each time he talks about emerging technology and what it can do to improve the consumer experience in its stores and online.

The senior group manager of digital vendor marketing at the big-box retailer continues to work on honing Target's approach to technology and services to give consumers the ultimate experience. Target was one of the first retailers to trial radio frequency identification technology in its supply chain, tracking the shipment of consumer products from manufacturing to retail stores.

Now Peterson is looking at allowing brands to deliver promotions and messages to consumers through iBeacon while in a Target store. Consumers must opt-in, of course. He believes mobile will assist services like these to move into mainstream for retailers.

Wearable devices, radio frequency identification technology, iBeacon, interactive digital display, and facial recognition will reshape the way retailers design in-store experiences for consumers, per Forrester Research.

iBeacon will not only support services in retail, but also airlines and airports. Virgin Atlantic reportedly will integrate Apple's iBeacon technology into the London Heathrow Airport. The airline is working with Estimote to trial the technology. Consumers will receive messages on their phone as they pass specific businesses, but the technology would also work on wearable devices.

By 2018, Cisco Systems estimates 176.9 million global wearable devices in the world, up from 21.7 million in 2013. Many of the transmissions will travel across 4G connections. By 2018, 4G will support 51% -- or 8 exabytes monthly -- of total mobile data traffic, up from 30%, or 448 petabytes monthly, in 2013.

Online retailers also will take advantage of iBeacon and location-based services Amazon recently announced the launch of the Wearable Technology store on its site where customers can search and discover the latest in wearable technology from established brands like Samsung, Jawbone and GoPro. It also features products from emerging brands like Basis and Misfit as well as devices coming soon from brands like Narrative and Bionym.

The new store features a Learning Center that includes product videos and detailed buying guides. These resources provide information about device compatibility, product comparisons and use-case suggestions to help customers find the right device for them. Customers will find the same tools that they would find on the main site, complete with product reviews. They also can take advantage of the Editor's Corner to find information about wearable technology industry news, device reviews and more.

"Digital Transmitter Tower" photo from Shutterstock.
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1 comment about "How iBeacon, Wearables Change Search And The Retail Experience".
  1. Michael Oddi from Tango Partners , May 2, 2014 at 1:31 p.m.
    Get ready for a retail transformation. If you want to see the power of this technology, check out this video on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUIqfjpInxY