31 Aug 2018, 09:30 — 5 min read
Imagine having a map available on your smartphone when you enter a supermarket or a large store! The indoor positioning app you’re using knows exactly where you are and syncs seamlessly with you as you make your way through the shop, helping you search for your items. Fresh vegetables? Just around the corner. That bottle of red wine? Three aisles along on the right-hand side. What if you’re looking for something very specific? Locate the product in your online catalogue and you’ll be guided directly to its shelf. Perhaps you’ll even receive a discount voucher as a final incentive to buy.
The world of connecting lighting
We know, of course, that more and more consumers carry smartphones with them as they shop, which they often refer to—checking emails, texts, and social media, or simply viewing the shopping list they prepared earlier. Now, retailers have the opportunity to connect with shoppers through data-enabled LED lighting systems that can collect and send relevant information using wireless communications, specially designed mobile apps and icloud services, letting them create innovative and interactive experiences in stores.
Code transmitted through light
One way of wirelessly communicating with shoppers’ smartphones is built into the LED technology itself. With Visible Light Communications (VLC) from Philips Lighting, a unique code can be transmitted through a beam of LED light that is detected by smartphone’s camera, creating a real time link between the shopper and the lighting system. As a result, the shopper’s smartphone can know exactly where it is and show relevant maps, product information, and promotional coupons. The technology requires shopper to opt in to accept information via an app. Since the data stream I one way, users’ private information is safe. One major retailer that has already been experimenting with the potential of VLC and connected lighting is French multinational Carrefour.
Technology guides shoppers directly to items they want to purchase and offers them relevant discounts. With over 10,000 stores in more than 30 countries, Carrefour is a true giant of the retail world. Its hypermarket in Lille, France, covers 7,800 sq. m. and was previously fitted with fluorescent lights. Replacing this conventional technology with 2.5 km of connected LED luminaires transformed the store and the shopping experience, offering significant advantages. One of the primary motivations for the installation was energy efficiency. The system cut the store’s energy consumption in half, which has had an immediate impact on the bottom line. Products, particularly fresh produce and meats, benefit from the unique qualities o LED light, giving food more colour and appeal to customers.
Carrefour wanted to harness the power of connected lighting to strengthen its relationship with customers. The project included 800 linear LED luminaires, each making use of the Philips VLC technology. With indoor positioning capabilities, the system can pinpoint a customer’s location within half a meter. Once registered with the system, customers can access a map to guide them around the large store, find promotions in the online catalogue, and locate them in the store. As a shopper approaches a shelf an begins comparing items, the ap can show him available discount or special offers for products in the vicinity. Céline Martin, Carrefour’s Director of Commercial Model and Innovation for the brand’ French hypermarkets, is delighted with the system’s impact in store. “Thanks to this new application, which uses Philips technology, we are now able to provide our customers at the Euralille Carrefour with a new service, enabling them to quickly search and locate their preferred promotions or detect all the promotions around them when they are in-store."
The author, Sumit Padmakar Joshi, CEO – South Asia, Philips Lighting, wrote this article for STOrai Magazine
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.
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