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Philips Tests a GPS System for Your Shopping Cart

Phillips lightfoods appLooking for salsa?

In 3 feet, turn left. In 2 feet turn left. In 2 feet make a U-turn. Arriving at destination on your right.

Phillips is working on a smart lighting system for stores that will help consumers locate what they need while gathering all sorts of shopper intel. Apple has been testing a similar concept with their iBeacon system which detects consumers as they move past a display. The system can send out a coupon or a recipe or other related information to encourage the consumer to stop and shop.

Phillips’ system takes that concept to a new level by placing those sensors in the ceiling lights giving the system an overview of shoppers as they move around the store. (The image of a mouse in a maze comes to mind.)

The system is designed to communicate with the customer at a variety of stages.

Philips-Connected-retail-lighting-system-infographic First, the shopper picks a recipe in the store app. It’s for guacamole, so the app then leads him to the veggie aisle using the overhead lighting system to track his movements.

When he arrives at the avocados, the app gives him a coupon for 50% off then suggests a companion dish – churros for dessert. He accepts the idea and the app then leads him to the bakery department for churros.

I love this example because the shopper is a guy named Dave and he’s looking for Mexican food. The test market for this program is Düsseldorf. Do they eat a lot of churros there? I live in California, so I get it but half the people I know back home don’t know what churros are.

None of this is relevant to the project, I just thought it was funny.

Back to the point. You can betcha that while David is finding his way to the churros, the app is collecting information about his shopping habits. The store will use this information to send him more relevant deals the next time he visits and they can share that data with their product partners. Pound for pound, good consumer data is worth more prime rib, so it’s a win-win-win except for one thing. . .

. . . shopping with your mobile phone in your hand is a nuisance. I use my phone to access digital coupons so I have to continuously pull it out of my purse, unlock the screen, find the coupon, click to save, put phone back in pocket and start over two minutes later. Cart manufacturers need to install mobile phone holders so you can roam hands free.

What do you think of Phillips’ smart store lighting system? A helpful tool or too much information for shoppers.