shopkick in action

It’s the future of retail: When you walk into a store, through a display, or into a particular department, your phone lights up with discounts and deals pre-programmed by the owners to draw you in and keep you there. It’s beacon technology, and it’s becoming increasingly popular as brick-and-mortar stores compete against online shopping.

Today, Macy’s, Inc. announced that it will be implementing the largest beacon technology rollout in the retail industry, and any industry, to date. The department store company is expanding its partnership with shopkick, the Silicon Valley-based shopping app founded in 2009, and by the end of September, 4,000 Macy’s stores nationwide will have incorporated the shopBeacon technology.

The shopkick app

Shopkick grew from a five-person start up to a leading company in retail technology by awarding its users points (called “kicks”) just for entering participating stores. Today, those stores include not only Macy’s, but Simon Malls, JC Penney, American Eagle, Target, Best Buy, Old Navy and more; and, brands like Oreo, Ritz and Levi’s also use shopkick to draw shoppers to where the products are located within such stores. Currently, shopkick is found in 3,500 retail locations nationwide; after the Macy’s roll out, that number will increase to 7,500.

This expansion comes after a yearlong test run at Macy’s New York and San Francisco. The shopBeacon technology minimizes department store-scale shopping to a personal level, as shoppers tapped into the beacons through the app receive recommendations, deals, discounts and rewards, depending on where they are in the store and their shopping tendencies. As the technology rolls out this fall, Macy’s customers who use shopkick will find mostly storewide deals, but by spring of 2015, they can expect to find more precise deals tailored by location.

Macy’s, Inc.’s partnership with shopkick comes as part of a wider advancement in “omnichannel strategy and technology,” as detailed in the company’s press release. In addition to the shopBeacon expansion, Macy’s, Inc. (which includes both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores) will be of the first retail companies to incorporate Apple Pay this fall when the service launches; the company also has plans to enhance its shopping apps, roll out mobile wallets and launch same day delivery, among other developments.

Of the new technologies, Macy’s, Inc. CEO and Chairman Terry J. Lundgren said:

Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s remain committed to operating at the forefront of innovation, as well as fostering a locally relevant shopping experience in every store. We will continue to test, to learn, and to proceed aggressively with new ideas that excite our customers and that make shopping more convenient and fun.

Locally, the iBeacon marketing platform Swirl has been forging ground to bring personalized shopping experiences to stores both in Boston and nationwide. Most notably, Lord & Taylor rolled out Swirl iBeacons in U.S. and Canada stores this summer. Swirl is also used at Kenneth Cole, Alex and Ani, Timberland and more.

If you’re one to opt into beacon technology and score deals while shopping, the local Macy’s stores in Downtown Crossing, CambridgeSide Galleria, the Mall at Chestnut Hill and South Shore Plaza, among others, will feature shopBeacon rewards and discounts this fall.

Images via shopkick