Indoor positioning systems have long been a holy grail for malls and big-box retailers where labyrinthine aisles and massive floorplans that rival small towns often leave customers begging for mercy, but the obstacles to deploying them are many: you've got to create detailed maps for every facility where you want it to work, and you need some sort of system for locating users with a reasonable level of precision since GPS is out of the picture. Start-up Point Inside has been hard at work on IPS for some time now, figuring that modern stores and malls teeming with WiFi access points and reliable AGPS are good enough to make it work, and now they've hooked up with Midwestern superstore chain Meijer to trial a system in four Michigan locations that will let users locate "more than" 100,000 items in store along with facilities like bathrooms and customer service. Conveniently, these stores have some 26 WiFi nodes deployed, which helps triangulate users down to a reasonable level of precision -- though it's probably not going to be able to tell if you're standing in front of the Frosted Flakes or the Raisin Bran. It's a free download for iPhone and Android users, and if you're close to one of the trial stores, be sure to let us know how well it works. Follow the break for the full press release.
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Retail Industry-First: Shoppers Can Precisely Locate Items In-Store on their Phones with Meijer's Free 'Find-it' App
Point Inside's mobile content platform enables in-store product search and delivers precise map locations of items to consumers' smartphones.
Grand Rapids, MI (PRWEB) August 24, 2010
Meijer (www.meijer.com) and Point Inside™, Inc. (www.pointinside.com) today announced that Meijer, has launched its free 'Find-it' mobile app, built upon Point Inside's mobile destination content platform. For the first time, shoppers can see the location of more than 100,000 items in a retail supercenter using their smartphones. Shoppers no longer need to ask store employees the common question `Where is...?' as items' locations are represented as pins placed on an interior map of the store. The application also provides updated information on weekly specials and product promotions available in the store, with the ability to instantly locate sale items.
During this pilot phase of the program, four Meijer supercenters have been enabled:
* Meijer at Cascade , located at 5531 28th St SE, in Grand Rapids, Michigan
* Knapp's Corner, at 1997 E Beltline NE, in Grand Rapids, Michigan
* Gaines Township, at 1801 Marketplace Drive, in Gaines Township, Michigan
* Grandville, at 3434 Century Center Drive SW, in Grandville, Michigan
Point Inside's platform facilitates the aggregation of destination-specific content, adding the critical context of location to each item. This marrying of 'what' to 'where' enables shoppers to quickly find what they need at their destinations, whether it's a specific department, service, like a fitting room or restroom, or even an individual product on the shelf.
"We're very pleased about the launch of the Find-it mobile app," said Elizabeth Wilson, online/mobile marketing specialist for Meijer. "Meijer is always looking for ways to improve our customers' shopping experience. So we are truly excited to introduce technology that not only continues our company's tradition of innovation, but helps makes shopping more convenient and fun for our customers."
"One of the most common questions every retail associate hears is 'Where can I find the...?'", said Jon Croy, co-founder and VP, Business Development for Point Inside. "As a retail thought leader, Meijer quickly understood the benefits of the Point Inside platform. Saving time, enabling self-service, and making sure shoppers don't leave the store without finding what they need is a win-win for both shoppers and retailers."
In addition to locating specific items, and perusing current sales and promotions, shoppers can view a list of services available in the store and determine their locations, such as the customer service desk, restrooms, or even Sandy the penny pony. Another feature is "Remember My Parking Spot", which shows the location of your car in the Meijer parking lot, allowing you to quickly navigate to the correct exit when your shopping is done. Finally, location and contact information for all Meijer stores is available.
Meijer's 'Find-it' app is available for free for Android devices in the Android market and also for iPhone and iPod touch at www.itunes.com/appstore. For screen shots and video please visit http://www.pointinside.com/press and select Media Assets.