Several years ago, retailers tried putting small tablet devices on shopping carts to help (persuade?) shoppers navigate product choices and drive purchases at grocery stores. I can't remember the name of the device but it was truly ahead of its time and I believe it was using RFID technology. As carts passed by RFID sensors certain information would be displayed on the table screen.
Now comes word that SK Telecom is piloting a project in Shanghai, China with shopping cart-mounted tablets that uses Wi-Fi technology. According to an article in GottaBeMobile, "This way, consumers can get true location-based discounts and coupons as they walk past aisles of snacks and food." Dvice Magazine further explains that shoppers need to download a "grocery list" app to their smartphone that later syncs with the shopping cart. Once synched, the tablet can send the shopper location-based discounts depending on where you are within the store. Also within the article, it offered this, "For example, if you were in the dairy aisle, the tablet might use augmented reality to let you know that Ben & Jerry's ice-cream is on sale or that there's a new kind of organic apple juice in the juice aisle with a sampling booth near it."
So, we're beginning to see the confluence of indoor positioning, couponing, location-based advertising, augmented reality and microgeography. It's all a bit much to take in at one fell swoop, but you had to see this coming. Somebody is putting together the next killer app for the consumer that will revolutionize grocery shopping and as the articles suggest make the shopping experience a little less mundane. The pilot will be shifting to South Korea next but don't expect it in North America any time soon. We're all still trying to figure out foursquare.
Image from SK Telecom press release