IoT/Smart Lighting, Retail

Lights help supermarket customers find products

Woman selecting bread at a supermarket
Shoppers at the Albert Heijn store in Hoofddorp, Holland, use an app to locate products to an accuracy of less than 30cm.

IN ONE of the first real-world trials of location-tracking lighting, customers at a supermarket in The Netherlands are using smartphones guided by lights to find products.

Shoppers at the Albert Heijn store in Hoofddorp use an app to locate say, soy sauce, to an accuracy of less than 30cm.

The installation is a testbed of Signify’s Yellow Dot technology, which acts like a form of GPS for indoor retail applications. 

Each YellowDot-enabled fixture sends a unique identifier, embedded in the high frequency LED lighting, to the front camera of the shopper’s smartphone.

The app, in turn, then compares this to a map of the store, allowing the system to accurately pinpoint the person’s location. 

Once pinpointed, this allows shoppers and store staff to receive directions to products or to receive location-based notifications.

Customers follow dynamic directions on a digital map that takes them to the product using the shortest route.

YellowDot is an open programme for lighting-based indoor positioning, allowing flexibility in purchasing luminaires from multiple parties, while securing interoperability with various indoor positioning software. 

The system also provides retailers with location analytics such as dwell time, footfall and density helping them to improve business and marketing initiatives.

Signify says the benefits of location-tracking are appreciated by shoppers.

It says that independent research conducted among 1,000 Dutch shoppers found that 14 per cent occasionally can’t find products when shopping. 

This relates to many products, not just ones they shop for occasionally. 

As a result, 44 per cent of those shoppers leave the store having bought at least one less item than they planned.

Customers follow directions on a digital map that takes them to the product using the shortest route.

Signify says other research shows that users appreciate the speed, convenience and independence of being able to find a product without searching or asking, with 84 per cent giving it a ‘thumbs up’, showing a strong appreciation for its benefits.

In 2017, Philips Lighting’s YellowDot Technology won the Connected Lighting Innovation of the Year Award at the Lux Awards. 

As the only open program that exists for lighting-based indoor positioning, judges commended the platform for ‘bringing the power of GPS to indoor retail applications’.