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Carrefour to Use Bluetooth Beacons to Track Carts, Baskets
The company will be the second retailer to pilot a solution from Proximus to identify the locations of carts and baskets moving around stores, providing analytics regarding shopper behavior.
Proximus is still evaluating the results of the trial at the two Nisa stores, Bueno reports. In the meantime, the BLE company is launching a more ambitious pilot with three Carrefour hypermarkets in Madrid, where thousands of shopping carts—also known as trolleys—will be tagged. Bueno says he cannot yet indicate how many ceiling sensors will be used, but notes that they will be wireless, sending data back to the cloud-based server via a Wi-Fi Internet connection.
The technology will be offered as software as a service (SAAS), with retailers paying a fee for access to the data and weekly analytic reports from Proximus; the price of the hardware could be included in that cost. The system is designed to be inexpensive, Bueno says. A retailer could deploy the solution temporarily at one store in order to gather data before moving the system to another site. However, he adds, Proximus' long-term plans to transition into a second phase of the technology, to include loyalty programs using customer cell phones, would require that the technology be permanently deployed.
During the second phase, retailers would be able to use the technology as part of an app enabling customers to participate in a loyalty program. In this case, they would opt into a store's loyalty program and could then earn rewards for providing such data as demographic information or a name or e-mail address. They would also download a retailer's app that could be modified via an SDK (supplied by Proximus) to allow the retrieval of beacon-based location data.
In the case of such a loyalty program, the system would collect data regarding a participant's movements, and could send promotional material, coupons or rewards. Conversely, it could simply collect demographic information relevant to that individual's shopping patterns, based not simply on what she buys (with traditional programs tied into the point of sale), but also which products she pauses to look at.
The location data can be utilized for details beyond product placement as well, Bueno says. For example, he explains, if a retail chain intends to build a new store, it can determine the necessary parking area size or aisle width, based on Proximus system data derived at another store indicating how many people enter that store and how long they remain.
Bueno expects the Carrefour pilot to extend about six months, after which the results of that test will be evaluated as well. For now, he says, it is too early for Carrefour and Nisa to comment on those results. Proximus' goal, he adds, is to offer the technology to Europe's largest retailers, and to open an office in the United States by the end of 2015 for marketing in this country.
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