Commentary

Beacons Coming to the Apple Watch for Grocery Shopping

Watch shopping is on the way.

No, not shopping for a watch, but rather shopping with a watch, specifically Apple’s.

And this watch shopping will be triggered by beacons in supermarkets.

In what is being billed as the world’s first Apple Watch-ready beacon rollout, all 63 Marsh Supermarkets will be equipped with beacons that can trigger messages via Apple Watch.

By linking the in-store beacons to its customer relationship management system, the Indianapolis-headquartered supermarket chain will be able to send more relevant messaging to its customers who get an Apple Watch when it becomes available.

Meanwhile, Marsh shoppers now can use their smartphones to receive beacon-triggered messages and offers.

For example, they can receive offers based on past purchases as they walk down a particular aisle or past a certain product. The retailer also can capture behavioral information from shoppers’ mobile devices for later use, such as by determining the most appropriate locations in a store to send which message to which customer.

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This is not the first early technology implementation by Marsh. In 1974, a pack of Juicy Fruit gum was scanned at a Marsh store, becoming the birth of in-store product scanning.

The beacons and platform are from InMarket and shoppers can receive beacon-triggered messages via the Marsh shopping app as well as from those that have the InMarket capability built in, such as Key Ring, CheckPoints, List East, Zip List and Epicurious.

There will be multiple beacons per store and Marsh will decide which apps are triggered by the beacons, Todd Dipaola, CEO of InMarket, told me.

The interesting part of this beacon implementation is the integration with other customer data the retailer already has in it systems.

“The platform here is the revolution,” said Dipaola. “They will be able to understand how the modern consumer shops.”

Another intriguing aspect when the Apple Watch is available will be the potential to create hands-free influence on consumer shopping behavior, without a shopper having to take a phone out of a purse or pocket and look at it.

Mobile commerce is going wearable.

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Check out the coming MediaPost IoT: Beacons conference agenda for Chicago Feb. 10.

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