Target begins testing beacons in 50 retail stores

Target is following in the footsteps of Macy's and other stores and will launch a pilot program testing out beacon technology. The beacons use Bluetooth to pipe communications to customers' smartphones — in this case, sending deals to those who are in the stores, recommendations, and more. This won't be the equivalent of unwanted spam, however, as customers will be advised about the feature and will need to opt-in if they're interested. iPhone users will be the first to get the deals.

In addition to opting in to the feature, the customer will need to have the Target for iOS app installed on their smartphone (and, in the future, their Android handset). Bluetooth with also need to be turned on so that the beacons can communicate with the phones. If the app is installed and Bluetooth is on, the app will ask the user to share their location and opt-in to push notifications.

If the user does this, the beacons will then be able to deliver deals and other info forevermore, or at least until the customer disables Bluetooth or revokes the permission. Target plans to go easy on the notifications, however, limiting how many are delivered to customers to keep from annoying them. This means only two notifications per visit to the store.

The pilot project will be rolling out in 50 stores located in highly populated regions across the United States, including Pittsburgh and Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, Minneapolis, and more. Feedback will shape the service over time, and by Christmas the company plans to roll out the feature across the nation.

SOURCE: TechCrunch