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Midwest Grocery Chains Deploy Birdzi Beacon Solution

The platform and beacons provide shoppers with the ability to receive location-based content that helps them locate products, view promotions and sales, and collaborate on shopping lists.
By Claire Swedberg
Tags: Retail
Feb 25, 2015

To boost their engagement with shoppers, two Midwestern grocery retailers are installing a Bluetooth beacon solution provided by retail technology startup Birdzi. Niemann Foods is expanding its deployment at eight of its County Market stores to all 45 locations throughout three Midwestern states. Woodman's Markets is launching the system at one of its stores this week, and plans to expand it to 14 more.

As a shopper walks around the store, the system pushes promotional offers and other information to an app running on that individual's smartphone, based on her location and preferences—such as a sale of a baked-goods item she tends to buy in the bakery, or a promotion that might lure her to try a product she has not purchased before, based on her other interests.

When an app user arrives at a participating County Market store, his or her smartphone will indicate on which aisle each item on that person's shopping list can be found.
The app also offers such features as a collaborative option allowing family members to share a shopping list if they are at the store at the same time. As they place items in their carts, they can manually remove those products from the list so that they do not make duplicate efforts.

"It's all about engagement," says Shekar Raman, Birdzi's CEO and co-founder. If a store only provides coupons and offers, he says, it cannot engage a shopper in the same way that it could if it were able to communicate with that person by providing other relevant content.

When Raman discusses the innovation behind his company's Bluetooth beacon and Wi-Fi solution for shopper engagement, he must defer to his teenage daughter. It was she, he notes, who, at age 10, first brainstormed the idea of a technology solution that could help shoppers find what they needed in the store.

"My daughter came up with the idea for an invention-day project, and put together a model of how the device would work," Raman explains. "Shoppers would type the product they were looking for into a device specific to the application, in the store, and the device would provide the location of the product. The device would be available for shoppers to pick up at store entry and easily mount on their shopping cart."

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