A GPS to navigate your supermarket

By Eytan Oren August 27, 2010

It’s easy enough to use GPS to get from your house to a supermarket, but how about a GPS that can locate the products you want once you’re in that supermarket?

Today, midwest supermarket chain Meijer launched a mobile application called “Find-It,” which helps shoppers navigate the shelves of four of it’s biggest Michigan stores. The program includes a database of 100,000 products and also directs consumers to the supermarket’s most enticing promotional offers and sale items.

The app runs on the iPhone, iPhone Touch, and Android devices, and was built by Point Inside– a company that until now built its business on apps mapping interiors of large airports and malls throughout the country. Point Inside’s maps utilize interactive touch screens, and typically help consumers find specific stores, as well as rest rooms, escalators, and various interior points of interest.

The Meijer project represents the most  detailed interior mapping endeavour the company has taken on. In addition to pinpointing products, the application maps the store’s service desks and restrooms, and has a “Remember My Parking Spot” feature to get you back to your car. It also gives Meijer the ability to target it’s most valuable frequent customers with specific special offers.

Although Meijer is doing an initial test on the app’s performance in a few select stores, the idea seems like a natural for any large market or warehouse chain like Target, Home Depot, and Walmart– not to mention stadiums, arenas, festivals, and a host of other locations.

Because GPS doesn’t function indoors, each Meijer location in the program has a network of 26 WiFi hot spots set up for optimal in-store mapping. As WiFi and smartphone prevalence increase, Point Inside’s apps are likely to have more and more value to consumers and to companies looking to stimulate sales and brand loyalty.

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