Target guides customers through the aisles with beacons
Shoppers may soon have an easy way to find what they’re looking for in Target stores, thanks to a new Bluetooth beacon-enabled mapping feature on the retailer’s mobile app.
The beacons, built into the LED lighting of the stores, enable shoppers using the Target smartphone app to see their own position on a store map, according to TechCrunch. As customers move through the store, their position on the map changes correspondingly. App users can also click on products on their shopping lists to reveal the location of the item and see if it’s on sale.
While some of the most familiar implementations of beaconing technology, like triggered coupons, have proven unpopular with customers, some retailers have had success with in-store mapping.
Nebraska Furniture Mart, for instance, implemented beacons that give step-by-step walking instructions to customers seeking a particular item. The service has been well-received by customers attempting to navigate the locations, which are the size of five to six IKEAs.
Target’s implementation of beacons is not the first experiment the retailer has conducted recently in its search for ways to improve its in-store experience.
Last year Target announced the piloting of a department store-style layout in 25 of its stores in the Los Angeles area. The stores feature new additions, such as themed displays near store entrances and service advisers in the aisles.
Then, earlier this year, Target announced a new prototype big box store, broken out into two sections accessible by different entrances. One entrance brings customers to a section defined as offering “ease,” with grab-and-go food and other items suited to quick, in-and-out shopping trips. The other side features an “inspiration” section for longer shopping visits.
And in its pursuit of a foothold in urban markets, Target has rolled out “flexible format” small stores with product selections that cater to the neighborhoods in which they’re built.
In February Target announced plans to spend $7 billion on store, digital and supply chain-related capital expenditures in the next three years.
- Target rolls out Bluetooth beacon technology in stores to power new indoor maps in its app – TechCrunch
- Will Target find its identity with a department store layout? – RetailWire
- Will ‘ambitious store redesign’ lift Target to new heights? – RetailWire
- IRCE recap: Is there a right way for retailers to use beacons? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Target’s use of beacons effectively meet a customer need and improve the shopping experience in its stores? Is this a good tech investment for Target to make?