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Macy’s, shopkick up the ante for personalized shopping

November 21, 2013

Macy’s is rolling out an iBeacon pilot at its East and West coast flagships to provide an enhanced in-store experience for shopkick users.

ShopBeacon transmitters are live at Macy’s Herald Square, New York and Union Square, San Francisco for a closed beta program, and the trial is set to go live within weeks. With the shopBeacon in place, shopkick users can opt-in to receive personalized location-based deals within the Macy’s stores.

“Every retailer is trying to get more items in the basket while a consumer is in-store,” said April Carlisle, senior vice president of global shopper marketing at Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide, Chicago. “It’s almost like a blue light special – it piques your interest and sometimes gets you to buy something that wasn’t on your list when you walked in.

“It enhances the shopping experience by giving shoppers that ‘surprise and delight’ while in-store,” she said. “It’s helping to educate the shopper on new products and build out those category sales. In short, it makes you feel like a smart shopper.”

Ms. Carlisle is not affiliated with Macy’s or shopkick. She commented based on her expertise on the subject.

Macy’s and shopkick did not meet press deadline.

In-store experience
Consumers can download the shopkick application for free from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

When they enter one of the Macy’s flagship stores, they will be asked to opt-in to receive special notifications of deals. Then they will be able to get location-specific deals, discounts, recommendations and rewards without even opening the app.

Macy’s will be able to track where a consumer is within the store to push relevant offers.

Shopkick welcomes shoppers to a store

Additionally, shopkick connects consumers online behaviors to enhance the in-store experience.

For example, if a consumer liked a product online, shopBeacon can message them that Macy’s sells that item when he or she enters the store.

In the future, shopBeacon will be able to push specific deals based on the department a shopper is located in. For instance, it can push a deal for boots when a shopper is in the shoe department.

A Macy’s shopper sees a relevant deal

Shopkick leverages Apple’s iBeacon Bluetooth Low Energy technology, but also adds encrypted signals to protect retailers and consumers, and provide greater accuracy and scale.

Macy’s and other retailers can install a shopBeacon by sticking it to a wall or flat surface. The battery of the device lasts five years.

Shopkick has been focused on enhancing the in-store experience since it was founded in 2009.

This summer shopkick updated its app to let consumers earn rewards for walking into a physical store in addition to making in-app purchases (see story).

With the challenge of showrooming and the rising stakes in mobile, Macy’s is smart to experiment with new ways to attract shoppers to its bricks-and-mortar locations, especially with the holiday season coming up.

“Most shoppers don’t have a full list written down when they go holiday shopping,” Ms. Carlisle said. “Again, it’s that surprise-and-delight factor.

“Maybe they get informed of something they hadn’t thought of for a certain person they hadn’t nailed down a gift yet”, she said. “Also, there is a fear-of-missing-out component during the holiday season – it’s that ‘for the next hour, here’s this special’ component that will get the shoppers’ interest.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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