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Target Is Getting Into the Beacon Game The beacons will send location-based product recommendations, coupons and other alerts to customers via Target's iPhone app.

By Geoff Weiss

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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If a future in which customers expect offer notifications to pop up as soon as they enter a store isn't far off, one of the world's biggest retailers just took a giant step closer to this reality.

Target announced today that it will equip 50 stores nationwide with beacons. In Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, New York City, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle, the egg-sized devices will transmit signals via Bluetooth to Target's iPhone app, and deliver location-based content only to users who opt in to the service.

"Don't worry about being overwhelmed," Target wrote in a blog post announcing the pilot program. "We're going to limit the amount you receive to two per shopping trip." Pop-ups will come in the form of product recommendations, coupons and alerts about items that are trending on social media.

Related: Target Just Opened a Space to Show Customers the Beauty of the Internet of Things

In the future, Target said, it is exploring additional features -- from shopping lists that can re-sort themselves based on a shopper's location, as well as a service to summon employees with a single tap.

From Target's perspective, the beacon test will also aggregate data for the retailer about how shoppers move through its stores -- revealing, for instance, which departments might need more employees.

The company is planning to add Android accessibility and beacons at even more locations later this year.

While this effort represents Target's foray into beacon technology, the Minneapolis-headquartered retailer is not alone. American Eagle, Macy's, McDonald's and GameStop are also testing the technology to assess how comfortable consumers feel about having their motions tracked.

Related: 'Alex From Target' Quits Cashier Gig to Pursue Movies, Music and National Tour

Geoff Weiss

Former Staff Writer

Geoff Weiss is a former staff writer at Entrepreneur.com.

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