iBeacons: Some early results are in

I recently read that half of the top 100 retailers are currently testing iBeacons. Wow. Even if the number is an exaggeration, it confirms that reaching shoppers this way is being taken very seriously.

Two retail innovators, Macy's and American Eagle Outfitters, teamed up with Shopkick for a pair of in-store tests. Here's what I've uncovered ...

American Eagle. For two months the retailer sent push notifications to shoppers entering 100 of their 929 stores. 10,000 customers took part in the trial. The message offered 25 Kicks (Shopkick reward points) if they tried something on in a fitting room. AE reports that customers who received the offer were more than twice as likely to try on clothing than those who didn't.


"That's incredible. It's way beyond anything I anticipated," chimed Joe Megibow, AE's Chief Digital Officer. "It's the right message (delivered) at the right time!"

Macy's. Last November, 4,000 iBeacons were deployed to more than 750 Macy's stores across the country. Certainly enough time to publish some results, but I failed to uncover any specifics. They pushed special offers (e.g. in Housewares) to customers whose smartphones had the Shopkick app. Since they're continuing the roll-out for this 2014 holiday season, one can assume the test results were pretty positive.  In addition, Macy's just revealed a whole slate of omni-channel activities (including our very own Smart Fitting Room test) that are currently under way or in development. A link to that press release is here

Ok. So I promised results.  Here's a quick rundown:

Lord and Taylor / The Bay. Working with Swirl, The Hudson Bay Company rolled out iBeacons to more than 130 stores across the U.S. and Canada.  4-6 per store.  Via their own branded apps they pushed discounts and editorial content, claiming an 18% engagement rate.  Compare that to an average click-through rate of 1-2% for mobile banner ads. SVP Ryan Craver called the pilot test results: "extremely compelling."


Hillshire Brands. Yes, the sausage people. Confirming the range of possibilities, Hillshire claims 6,000 in-store engagements over a 48-hour period of deploying Apple's iBeacon system.

Urban Outfitters. UO is just getting started with their test, going the Google route and rolling out first with technology targeted to Android phones. They're initially focusing on three areas within the store: checkout line, fitting rooms, and entrance. After prompting shoppers to check-in via social media, up pops an offer. Shoppers are also prompted to take selfies and post to Instagram. In the fitting rooms, they get product intel. And at the register, they're testing push notifications prompting loyalists to show their Urban ID.

So, admittedly, I've come up a bit short on real data. But that's kind of the point. We're all very eager to see numbers that link iBeacons to purchases and ROI. I'll keep looking and publish an update in a couple weeks.  If you come across any good stats, please send them our way.

Now for those shopping for actual beacon technology ... or want a great tutorial ... let me introduce you to Aislelabs. They've just released and amazing and comprehensive report dubbed: "The Hitchhiker's Guide to iBeacon Hardware." They not only rank 16 vendors. They breakdown the components, compare battery options and chipsets, and much more.  OK. Maybe it's TMI for some, but someone on your team will have to take a deep dive in iBeacons.  Here's a great pool to get started in.

Todd HoffmanComment