SK Telecom is testing a Smart Cart service in China that synchronizes with consumers' smartphones to offer position-relevant information in real-time.
There seems to be no end to the innovations designed to improve the grocery shopping experience. Not long ago we spotted an effort enabling grocery shopping by smartphone in South Korean subways, for example, and now — from the very same country — SK Telecom is testing a Smart Cart service in China that synchronizes tablet-equipped shopping carts with consumers’ smartphones to offer a wide array of position-relevant information in real-time. SK Telecom’s Smart Cart is the world’s first shopping cart service to use smartphones to deliver in-store information using indoor positioning technology, the company says. There have already been RFID-based cart services, of course, but SK Telecom’s Smart Cart goes a step further to provide a wide variety of shopping tips, product information and coupons in real-time based on the consumer’s position in the store. Shoppers begin by downloading the Smart Cart application to their smartphones. Next, they can search for product information and store coupons and draw up a shopping list. Then, once they’re at a participating retail store, the customer’s smartphone is automatically synchronized with a tablet PC installed in the shopping cart. After that, as they move about the store, shoppers receive a variety of product information and coupons relevant to their specific location in the aisles. The system’s indoor positioning technology uses both UWB and Zigbee to offer location information that’s accurate within one meter, SK Telecom says, and delivered to the shopping cart’s tablet via wifi. Once they arrive at the checkout counter, the tablet screen on their cart shows the list of purchased items, membership points and available coupons. Following its pilot tests in China, SK Telecom plans a similar testing phase in Korea later this year. Ultimately, the company expects to further integrate consumers’ shopping history into the service for personalized product recommendations and individualized target marketing, it says. Retailers and brands alike: one to get involved in early? Spotted by: Florent Lesauvage