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New Seasons Market leverages iBeacons for customized in-store checkout

Natural foods grocer New Seasons Market is updating and customizing its in-store checkout experience, a strategy that will include the rollout of iBeacons next year.

The Pacific Northwest store, which has branches in the Portland-Vancouver area, California’s Central Coast and recently acquired Californian organic food store New Leaf Community Markets, has teamed up with retail software firm Index to roll out the enhanced security features across all stores. New Seasons Market believes that the partnership will provide understanding of consumer behaviors while delivering relevant product suggestions and shopping experiences.

“Payment security is the foundation for any good purchase experience,” said Marc Freed-Finnegan, co-founder and CEO of Index, San Francisco. “Index provides best-in-class technology which enables fast, seamless, and completely secure transactions. In effect, we provide the highest level of protection for New Seasons Market customers.”

Plans for iBeacons
New Seasons Market has plans to integrate iBeacons and Bluetooth technology into its stores to offer an enhanced experience for guests. The beacons, which will be powered by Index, are expected to roll out in early 2015.

Consumers must download the custom New Seasons Market mobile application for iPhone or Android to access the beacons, which will offer customized product recommendations aiming to drive more in-store discovery of new products.

The store will be able send real-time personalized offers and deals to its consumers based on known preferences.

New Seasons Market is the latest brand to announce beacon incorporation in the coming months. Although U.S. retailers and marketers have seen some challenges in incorporating beacons into stores, the market has matured, allowing for more brands to begin testing the technology to personalize consumers’ shopping experiences.

Personalized shopping experiences
The grocery brand hopes that Index’s technology will yield more customer data as well as help it deliver more customized shopping experiences to guests. Rather than replace existing payment systems with more expensive models, Index will integrate with the stores’ existing PIN pads to improve security and individually tailor the checkout experience.

The software firm’s Point-to-Point Encryption shields credit card data the moment it is swiped, prompting end-to-end security. It will also be supporting the global smartcard security standard, EMV, that is expected to be introduced into the United States market next year.

The stores’ PIN pad content will also receive updates through a simple Web interface that is designed to personalize the shopping experience. After a consumer has paid for the groceries, he or she will be able to opt-in to receive email receipts rather than a paper copy.

Index believes that good customer experience relies on security, which is why the company is ensuring the highest levels of protection for New Seasons Market and its consumers. Combined with the focus on iBeacons, the grocery brand is set to pave the way for other food retailers in offering technologically-advanced transactions and experiences.

“With customer consent, iBeacon / Bluetooth provides a way for New Seasons to deliver a personalized welcome when a customer arrives,” Mr. Freed-Finnegan said. “We greet them with relevant content in the form of personalized recommendations and even incentives to facilitate discovery and enrich their in-store experience.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York