Imagine walking into your typically large and crowded store with your shopping list on your phone, and an app guiding you to the right spot where your chosen products are located.
Also, on the way, you will be notified about any discounts and sales that the store is currently offering.
This scenario will very soon be a reality, right here in Dubai.
A new technology from Phillips Lighting – called Indoor Positioning –allows retailers to use sensors from custom-LED lights to guide consumers to their desired destinations through an app.
The system, which has been implemented in a Carrefour store in Lille, France, is set to take effect very soon in Dubai, with retailer Aswaaq.
Here’s a video showcasing how the technology will work –
The trend towards using mobile phones while shopping is rapidly gaining traction worldwide.
According to a study carried out by Google in 2013, 79 per cent of US smartphone owners are ‘smartphone shoppers’, using their phones to support their shopping while in-store.
This trend is further anticipated to grow with millennials projected to represent 30 per cent of total retail sales in the US by 2020.
In the UAE and Saudi Arabia, nearly two thirds of the population has smartphones—and that number is growing.
While that has also led to e-commerce picking up, it currently occupies only a tiny fraction of the market; in the UAE, it accounted for 1.5 per cent of the overall retail industry spend in 2016, and is expected to rise to 4.1 per cent by 2021, according to industry estimates.
“People are using their mobiles more and more to browse and research before they buy, and 46 per cent expect their mobiles to be their main purchasing channel in the future,” a recent report by PwC about the Middle East found.
“But security concerns are still preventing many of them from doing that right now.”
Courtesy: PwC: The new retail landscape
Brick and mortar retail remains popular across the region. Dubai – in particular – retains its spot as a favourite destination for international retailers, and ranked third worldwide (after Hong Kong and London) on the list of the top target markets by new entrants in 2016, according to a report by CBRE.
“Dubai welcomed 59 new retailers in the past year, attracted by sustained consumer demand from both the local population and tourists,” the report said.
“However, Dubai’s retail sector is starting to show signs of stress: sustained economic pressures, the strong US dollar and lower growth in tourism are impacting sales figures,” it added.
In this scenario, experts urge that innovative technologies can help retailers attract shoppers – with a greater focus on targeting the younger generation.
Tried and tested
The new Philips Lighting indoor positioning system debuted at the Carrefour hypermarket in the Euralille mall in Lille, France —one of the top 10 shopping malls in Europe—in 2015.
The system allows customers to find products on promotion throughout the store using a specially designed smartphone app.
“We work with Philips on energy savings, and we wanted to test a new service in Carrefour Lille to go beyond just lighting,” said Céline Martin, business models and innovation manager for Carrefour hypermarkets.
“The focus we made is to specialise and localise the promotions for people.”
According to Philips Lighting, the new system can support a range of location-based services such as way-finding, product finding, and personal couponing – that make shopping a “more interactive, personalised and enjoyable experience, ultimately driving sales and encouraging brand loyalty”.
It also enables retailers to have instant and hyper-accurate (30 cm) positioning without the need to add or maintain additional hardware, and allows customer in-pocket notifications.
“Indoor positioning can also add value for retailers in terms of offering better service, improving staff efficiency, and assessing shopper traffic/routing. For example, order pickers receive efficient routing instructions, or customer flow data reveals dead zones in the store,” the company explains.
“While it will require investment and new, different capabilities, retailers – under pressure from fierce and increasingly global competition – will have to keep improving their cost efficiency if they are to survive and prosper,” it adds.
The company has just launched the Philips indoor positioning system across the UAE and the GCC and it is now available.
All the information and details about the new system can be found here