Hillshire Brands sees the promise of Apple’s iBeacon, software that’s been embedded in iOS 7 for a year. With iBeacon, Hillshire can track a shopper wheeling through a grocery store
and send his iPhone a coupon or an ad for sausages just as he approaches the right cooler. Hillshire says consumers in 10 U.S. test cities who received iBeacon messages via apps such as recipe
service Epicurious have been 20 times likelier to buy its American Craft sausages. Last year, iBeacon promised Apple a new wave of consumer data and looked like a boon to retailers and
advertisers trying to reverse a decline in impulse buys. Using a low-energy Bluetooth signal, the software makes an iPhone’s proximity to certain items easier to track with the help of $10
signaling devices—beacons—mounted on shelves and ceilings, each no bigger than a hockey puck.