Fed up with not being able to find goods in your local supermarket, well that may be a thing of the past. Engineers have developed a shopping cart that actually tells customers where items are located within store. They also allow advertising to be served to the trolly based on a prior buying history.
Developed using Microsoft software the shopping carts come with Wi-Fi and a colour screen and is able to pinpoint exactly where it is located in a store and using RFID technology the software allows offers to be flashed to the screen as consumers walk down the aisle.
The technology could have a major impact on the whole concept of retail TV with instore screens being dropped in favour of intelligent shopping carts.
To find an item the user simply identifies the name of what they are looking for into a microphone on the trolley handle. Voice recognition software then identifies the item sought.
The computer can also be programmed to display recipes for food while people shop and also flash up a warning if an item picked has too much fat. If the trolley is stolen it begins broadcasting its location immediately and the wheels lock to prevent movement.
Loyalty card customers can also swipe in their details and be shown relevant offers and see what they bought on previous visits.
Scott Ferris, general manager of the Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group at Microsoft said: “Digital advertising opportunities are expanding rapidly into new areas, as many of consumers’ daily activities, such as shopping, become increasingly connected. Microsoft is committed to working with advertisers and agencies to take advantage of these opportunities as they unfold.”
The trolleys are being built by Texas-based company MediaCart and a nine month pilot in Shoprite stores in the US begins next month.
the Company has just concluded a seven month trial.
Both Coles and Woolworths have said that they are aware of the new technology after seeing the carts at a US retail trade show in the USA. Also interested in the technology is Bunnings.
An early pilot, conducted in the USA has provided insights from both consumer and retailer that are being adopted in the next-generation product says Microsoft. The nine-month pilot began in April of 2007. Microsoft’s Atlas Division provided video ad serving on the MediaCart grocery cart LCD TV screen. This provided advertisers with the opportunity to reach shoppers at the point of purchase, and provided ShopRite customers with a more personalised shopping experience.
“In working with companies like MediaCart, we’re continuing to push the envelope in the digital advertising realm to enable new and innovative ways for advertisers and agencies to create brand loyalty and engage with their target audiences in a highly relevant, measurable and targeted way,” said Scott Ferris, general manager of the Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group at Microsoft. “Digital advertising opportunities are expanding rapidly into new areas, as many of consumers’ daily activities, such as shopping, become increasingly ‘connected,’ and Microsoft is committed to working with advertisers and agencies to take advantage of these opportunities as they unfold.”
By using Microsoft technologies, the MediaCart solution will enable anonymous ad targeting through data obtained through ShopRite’s customer loyalty card program. A shopper would scan his or her card at the MediaCart, and receive ads and promotional offers based on past purchases and/or saved shopping lists that could be uploaded from a home PC.