Macy’s Joins Forces With Shopkick

The retailer is using Apple’s iBeacon-based presence signal, in partnership with the app, to further its push into omnichannel.

The “magic” of Macy’s is being enhanced by Shopkick’s app, using Apple’s iBeacon-based presence signal, to further the retailer’s push into omnichannel.

This story first appeared in the November 20, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Shopkick’s app layers on its ShopBeacon, a proprietary software that adds encrypted signals to remind shoppers who enter Macy’s stores of location-specific deals, discounts and recommendations, as well as how to earn rewards while in the store. The technology builds upon Apple’s iOS7 Bluetooth Low Energy mobile protocol.

ShopBeacon is live at Macy’s Herald Square in New York and Macy’s Union Square in San Francisco as part of closed beta testing, with plans to go live to Shopkick users in a few weeks.

Martine Reardon, Macy’s Inc.’s chief marketing officer, said that as an inaugural partner with Shopkick when it first launched a few years ago, the retailer is constantly thinking about mobile and how customers interact with the store when they walk into it.

“The evolution in shopping is using the mobile device now more so when in the store, sometimes to see the balance of the assortment when they come in, other times for entertainment to see what’s happening. They are not always on a mission to buy. What ShopBeacon can do is show them some product if they’re walking down an aisle or in one part of the store and not the other. It’s one way to engage consumers with the products,” she said.

The cmo added that the consumer may be interested in an item, but not be necessarily where the product is when they enter the store. Using ShopBeacon will help direct the consumer to where that product is, she explained. The test also helps the retailer target the Millennial consumer, who is growing up with the device in hand.

According to Cyriac Roeding, cofounder and chief executive officer of Shopkick, the development of ShopBeacon took about a year. He said the product can be licensed to other retailers for use on their own Web site separate from the Shopkick app.

Reardon said that depending on what they learn from the test at the two store locations, Macy’s would be interested in possibly using the product to interface with its own Web site.

Matt Murphy, partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, an investor in Shopkick, said, “Using this geofencing ability takes the interactive nature of being in the store to the next level. It gives retailers and the brand more opportunities to communicate with their customers.”