Home Location-Based Services Move into the Supermarket: Pancake Mix on Aisle 6

Location-Based Services Move into the Supermarket: Pancake Mix on Aisle 6

Modern supermarkets often offer close to 100,000 items on their store shelves. Finding the one thing you are looking for can often be a hassle, especially if you prefer to turn your search for a dozen eggs into an adventure instead of just asking a store employee. Now, with the help of Point Inside, shoppers at a number of Meijer supercenters in Michigan will be able to use their iPhones to find the product they are looking for.

Point Inside already offers maps for malls and airports, but as a Point Inside representative told us, supermarkets are an even more lucrative market for indoor location services, as they allow companies to speak directly to consumers who are actively looking to buy something. This gives a store like Meijer, which is running a pilot study of this application, the opportunity to customize offers for frequent shoppers and to highlight sale items and other products. As Point Inside’s co-founder and VP for business development Jon Croy also notes, supermarkets also want to ensure that shoppers don’t leave the store without finding what they are looking for.

Determining a shopper’s location inside a store, of course, is not an easy task, as GPS signals don’t work inside a building. Instead, Point Inside triangulates a shopper’s location in the store with the help of WiFi access points inside the building. In an interview with mocoNews, Point Inside’s CEO Kevin Foreman explains that WiFi used to be a rarity in supermarkets, but Meijer now has 26 hotspots inside every store that is participating in this pilot, which allows the company to locate a shopper with a good enough accuracy to be useful.

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