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Pharmacy chain Duane Reade to trial Apple's iBeacons in several NYC locations

Consumers in the Big Apple will soon find their pharmacy visits more convenient as popular chain Duane Reade announced plans to bring iBeacon-powered microlocation functionality — such as coupons or product reviews — to 10 Manhattan outlets in a new pilot program.

According to Duane Reade, customers will be able to receive notifications on their lock screen as they approach a store in which iBeacon hardware has been installed. Customers might also get discount offers based on what they have previously purchases, or have product reviews pushed to their devices as they evaluate items in the store.

"The Duane Reade app plays an integral role in our omni-channel customer engagement strategy," Walgreens communications executive Calvin Peters said in a release. "Mobile interaction is at the core of our social media success as mobile and social are intrinsically linked; the addition of these new 2.0 features, as well as the integration of iBeacon technology, will continue to fuel our digital customer experience strategy, as we strive to push forward our New York Living Made Easy mantra."

Apple's iBeacon technology, which provide microlocation data to iOS devices based on Bluetooth Low Energy signals, has seen quick adoption among businesses since its unveiling last summer. Flagship deployments thus far have come from Apple itself, Major League Baseball, and Virgin Atlantic airlines.

Customers can test the new features at Duane Reade locations including 51 West 51st Street, 22 West 48th Street, 661 8th Avenue, 4 Columbus Circle, 771 8th Avenue, 1350 Broadway, 1627 Broadway, 100 West 57th Street, 1370 Avenue of the Americas, and 1150 Avenue of the Americas.

The iBeacon functions have been added to an app update designed to bring Duane Reade's iOS offering up to par with apps offered for parent company Walgreens's stores. Other new features include access to their in-store rewards account, historical coupon data, and maps of the store locations including shelf position for individual items.

Duane Reade version 2.0 is available now as a free, 39.7-megabyte download from the App Store.