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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Target Stores Using Beacon Technology

On August 5, 2015 Target announced their latest move to create a smarter, more convenient and inspiring in-store shopping experience, Target is testing beacon technology in 50 locations nationwide. In these stores, the Target app will serve up timely deals and recommendations on nearby products and more.
Target Shopping Beacon Technology
The retailing powerhouse is the latest to explore the still emerging technology with test markets throughout the U.S., with an eye toward a chain-wide roll out.

What’s a beacon?

Beacons are small devices (about the size of an egg) placed throughout the store that transmit signals—like a radio antennae—via Bluetooth. The beacon’s signals can be detected by smartphone apps. In the case of Target, their iPhone app receives the signal and, when you’re opted in, it delivers content to your phone.

Learn more about fashion retail beacon technology and how it can be used in clothing stores.

How do I get started with the Target store beacon?

First, you would need to download or update to the latest version of the Target iPhone app (version 7.4 or higher) and enable Bluetooth in your phone’s settings.

When you’re located near one of the 50 test stores—in Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, New York City, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle – you will be prompted to “opt in” to share your location and receive push notifications. (Don’t worry about being overwhelmed with pop-ups—they have indicated that they are going to limit the amount you receive to two per shopping trip, and they will make sure the alerts and in-app updates provide compelling content and offers.) 
Target Beacon Fashion 2015
We are not saying the policy of two messages per visit won’t change, but this is what Target is saying now.  If you don’t believe us, visit their website and read their press release about this test project.

What can I expect when using this beacon technology at Target?

Let’s say you’re shopping in the shoe department.  After you opt in to this new technology (on your iPhone), product recommendations from the shoe department may pop up on your iPhone (via push notifications or in-app updates) on the Target app’s “Target Run” home page. The “Target Run” page is like a social media site’s newsfeed, so the latest content—i.e. product recommendations or coupons based on your location in the store is added on top of the page.

What does this look like? Let’s say you’re browsing women’s apparel. You might get an alert about nearby items that are trending on Pinterest.  In all honesty, we have not yet utilized the app at Target, so we are not sure what else you may see from the app.

What’s next regarding this tech?

Target is already working to develop additional features for future release, including the ability to dynamically re-sort your shopping list as you move through the store, like how smartphone maps re-route when you veer off course (in our opinion that is a great feature).

Target is also planning to launch a service in the Target app where you can request the help of a store team member right from your phone.  Think of it this way: Beacons + Target app = Red-and-Khaki to the Rescue.  At this time, Apparel Search is not sure how well this feature would work, but we certainly look forward to testing out this new service when it becomes available.

Based on results and the guest feedback they receive from the 50-store test, they will continue to enhance and adapt the service, which isn’t currently available for Android devices. (Rest assured Droid lovers: Target has indicated that they are working on that, too!)

We are not one hundred percent certain, but we believe that they are already planning to expand the beacon service to more stores later this year.

Fashion retail beacon technology is an exciting new tool that is still very new to retailers.  We are pleased to know that Target is utilizing the technology.  We hope that they create amazing services for the clothing departments in the store.

Thank you for taking the time to read our fashion retail technology blog post. We hope that you have found this news to be informative. If you have comments or questions, please add your thoughts in the discussion area below.

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