Apple has begun using its iBeacon retail technology in its US stores.
The technology uses the existing Apple Store app to track consumers’ locations in the shop, and can help them find the product they’re looking for, or suggest something they might like to look at instead.
After permission for the app to contact them is granted, consumers will receive messages about products and events based on where they are stood inside the shop – for instance it might suggest an iPhone upgrade as they pass a table advertising the iPhone 5S.
iBeacon can also notify customers when their order is ready to pick up, with the standard Apple Store app able to be used to pay for some products even without iBeacon support.
The iOS 7-only app uses Bluetooth and a number of iBeacon transmitters to track consumers’ locations, avoiding the issues that GPS tracking suffers when indoors.
While the technology may raise privacy concerns for some, Apple has stated that no data is collected via the technology, with notifications triggered when the app is brought within range of a transmitter – meaning the transmitter doesn’t need to receive any information from the phone.
However, should the technology flourish, more specific and in-depth assistance could be offered, as long as users opt into use of their shopping data.