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Retailers take advantage of iBeacon

BY Dan Berthiaume

iBeacon technology, the Apple iOS 7 feature that helps mobile devices track their position relative to stationary beacons by using low-frequency Bluetooth transmissions, is getting quite a bit of attention from retailers.

Grabbing their interest is not only that devices can obtain individualized information from beacons, but also that beacons can obtain individualized information from mobile devices.

Placed in stores, iBeacons also can tell retailers quite a bit about who is shopping and what they are looking for. Here are five retail chains who have taken advantage of iBeacon with pilots and rollouts so far in 2014.

Duane Reade
In May, Duane Reade placed iBeacon in its Duane Reade mobile app and launched a 10-store pilot in the New York market. The iBeacon technology pilot is part of an in-store mobile coupon initiative at Duane Reade that enables shoppers to digitally clip coupons and redeem them via a bar code on a smartphone.

The inclusion of this technology to the Duane Reade app adds such features as lock screen notifications when initially approaching a select Duane Reade store location, coupon offers based on historical data and product reviews for timely content at the point of decision. Other features include scanner options that allow for instant product scans revealing detailed item information; mobile coupon clipping for immediate redemption at POS, facilitating a seamless value-added experience via Balance Rewards; and instant Instagram 4-by-4-in. prints directly to a Duane Reade location.

Safeway and Giant Eagle
The Safeway and Giant Eagle grocery chains are both rolling out the inMarket Mobile to Mortar iBeacon location-sensing platform at more than 150 grocery stores in Seattle, San Francisco, and Cleveland, with additional retailers and markets launching in the coming months. As inMarket rolls out its iBeacon network, it will provide shoppers with features including custom coupons, loyalty rewards and grocery list reminders. For example, shoppers who opt-in can be reminded of items a spouse just placed on their shared list, earn loyalty rewards or be directed to a custom special offer.

American Eagle
American Eagle Outfitters is launching the ShopKick ShopBeacon iBeacon solution in 100 top-performing American Eagle Outfitters and Aerie stores across the country. ShopBeacon is an Apple iBeacon-based presence signal for retailers that offers customers rewards, in a currency called “kicks,” for a variety of actions they take as they go about shopping.

As shoppers enter an American Eagle Outfitters store, ShopBeacon will welcome and show them location-specific rewards, deals, discounts and product recommendations without them even having to remember to open the app. It also can tie at-home browsing behavior to in-store benefits; if the customer “likes” a specific product online, if they so choose, ShopBeacon can remind them where in the American Eagle Outfitters store that product is sold.

Chico’s FAS
Chico’s FAS is reportedly building a mobile shopping app for the iOS and Android platforms. According to the Wall Street Journal, the app will integrate with iBeacon location sensors on shelves.

This app, in pilot testing as of February 2014, would reportedly use iBeacons to notify customers who have opted in when they are near items that fit their purchase history. Associates would then use iPads to update the customer’s history.

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NYC’s former ‘top cop’ to keynote DSN Industry Issues Summit

BY Rob Eder

NEW YORK — Former New York police commissioner Raymond Kelly will be the featured keynote lunch speaker at the 16th annual Drug Store News Industry Issues Summit on Dec. 2 at the New York Athletic Club.

The longest-serving police commissioner in New York City history and the first to serve two separate tenures as the city’s top cop, Kelly will share with Issues Summit attendees his experiences from leading one of the largest police departments in the world. Kelly is widely credited for creating the country’s first municipal police department counterterrorism bureau and establishing a global intelligence program with New York City detectives in 11 foreign cities.

At the same time, Kelly also led the NYPD in decreasing violent crime by 40% from 2001 levels. In addition, Kelly introduced new big data capabilities to the department, creating the Real Time Crime Center, which mined millions of records to identify investigative leads for New York detectives.

Kelly is the “headliner” for what is gearing up to be another blockbuster Industry Issues Summit conference for Drug Store News. The event, now in its 16th year, features exclusive retailer roundtable discussions around three critical areas of the business — emerging new healthcare technologies; diabetes and chronic care; and driving  front-end growth.

An impressive lineup of retail companies has signed on for the Dec. 2 conference, including Walgreens, CVS Caremark, Rite Aid, Costco, Target, Sam’s Club, Ahold, Family Dollar, Thrifty White, Cardinal Health, Winn-Dixie, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Shopko and more.

“The annual Issues Summit is a mainstay event every year during New York Industry Week,” said DSN publisher Wayne Bennett. “People who attend Issues Summit gain valuable insights from the leading retail executives in our industry about how to align strategic imperatives with high-growth results. The meeting also provides an intimate setting for great industry networking and leadership connectivity. “

The full-day event includes three separate roundtable discussions:  the Health, Wellness and Technology Summit; the Diabetes and Chronic Care Roundtable; and the Industry
Issues Summit.

The conference also provides attendees with networking opportunities, a chance to develop stronger relationships with key industry stakeholders, valuable insights and strategies to grow the business, and an important look at trends.

For more information, including registration and sponsorship, visit DSNIndustryIssues.com.

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Walmart to expand its opening price point private label nationwide in late third quarter

BY Michael Johnsen

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart plans to launch its opening price point private label, Price First, nationwide in late third quarter, executives told analysts on Friday. 
 
The Price First line has focused primarily on consumables, as peanut butter, baking mixes and condiments are among the items being offered on the first tier of a good, better, best marketing strategy. Walmart has piloted the Price First line across 400 stores in the Southeast since last fall and will now be expanding distribution across its entire store base. 
 
"These initiatives are about changing with our customer," said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO. "We’re pushing to save [our customers] time and money, both in store and online," he said. "Customers are rational. They respond to low prices, innovative products and the service they expect. So, we must run stronger stores everywhere we operate, with better merchandising, in-stock levels and quality service. I’m confident that we can improve comp sales as we deliver on these priorities, and I’m bullish on our core business."
 
To ensure customers are in fact getting the best price at Walmart, the discount retailer two weeks ago rolled out a program called Savings Catcher nationwide, which leverages Walmart's data analytics capabilities to automatically match competitors’ ads, and "strengthen customers’ confidence that they are receiving the lowest advertised price on like items," Greg Foran, Walmart U.S. president and CEO, told investors. 
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