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Shelfbucks' Bluetooth-NFC Beacons Bring Discounts to Tarrytown Pharmacy's Shoppers

The solution combines BLE and active NFC RFID technologies in a single tag, ensuring that both Android and Apple phones can access coupons and promotional materials.
By Claire Swedberg

Last week, the 7,200-square-foot pharmacy installed 20 Shelfbucks beacons on the shelves where goods are displayed, each corresponding to the specific type of product (such as shampoo, cold and fever medication or vitamins) found on the shelf on which it is installed. An individual can tap his or her phone against the beacon, and if the handset supports NFC technology, the beacon's NFC transponder will transmit its unique identifier to prompt the phone to access the server and obtain data corresponding to that location. If BLE technology is being used—in the case of an iPhone or some Android models—the process is the same, though the unique identifier is received via Bluetooth. The phone then displays product and promotional information pertaining to related items on that shelf. For example, if the individual taps a Shelfbucks beacon located in the store's cold and flu products section, he or she can also receive information about facial tissues currently available on sale.

Tarrytown Pharmacy's Mark Newberry
The Shelfbucks server software collects data regarding which beacons are being tapped, when this occurs and how often, and that information is shared with Tarrytown Pharmacy to help it better manage its in-store product displays. No personal data about an individual is ever collected, Scheschuk notes, so as to protect consumer privacy.

Although the system has only been in place for about a week, Newberry reports that initial customer response seems to be favorable. "I think, for me, there are two points of value," he states. "We're able to bring something novel to the customer, and we hope to drive sales with this as well."

Shelfbucks manufactures its own beacons, including the NFC chip and antenna installed in the devices. According to Scheschuk, Shelfbucks is presently in discussions with several large retailers interested in integrating the solution into their existing loyalty programs. In that case, he says, customers would access data via the beacons, in conjunction with an app provided by the retailer that receives data from the Shelfbucks solution.

A customer can tap his phone against a beacon to learn more about a particular product.

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