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Apple's iBeacon in stores for holiday shopping

Monday - 11/25/2013, 12:13am  ET

shopbeaconshopper (shopkick)
Apple's iBeacon notifies in-store shoppers as they near items they like (Courtesy Shopkick)
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WASHINGTON - Think of it as shopping with a friend who knows what you like and is aware of all the ongoing sales.

Apple's iBeacon, which provides precise, GPS-like location services indoors, is being used in three Macy's stores, and will likely be in shopping malls this holiday season.

For shoppers who opt-in, offers will be pinged to their smartphones as they walk past the products or into the department where they're sold.

The iBeacon service is available through Shopkick, the shopping app that lets users flag products they like, and reminds shoppers of bargains and offers as they enter the store that sells the item.

The iBeacon integration takes the shopping companion to the next level, notifying the user as he or she is standing within feet of the item.

Using inaudible-to-the-human-ear audio signal technology that registers in built- in microphones of smartphones, its makers says the iBeacon system offers more precise locations than GPS.

Shopkick will soon roll out the shopBeacon service to other retailers, including American Eagle Outfitters, Best Buy, Crate and Barrel, JCPenney, Old Navy, The Sports Authority and Target, according to TechCrunch.

Shopkick says the shopBeacon beta at Macy's is the first major retail use of the technology, even before Apple activates it at Apple Stores.

In general, retailers have been looking for solutions to encourage shoppers to come into brick and mortar stores for bargains, in conjunction with online shopping.

Macy's CMO Martine Reardon, in a statement, says shopBeacon delivers "the most relevant messages and offers to our customers at what is arguably the most helpful moment - when they are shopping in our stores."

The shopBeacon feature of the Shopkick app works with iOS devices and Android handsets using version 4.3 or higher, which includes the Jelly Bean and KitKat operating systems.

See how shopBeacon works at Macy's:

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