Augmented Shopping Assistant Helps Shoppers Find Products And In-Store Deals

Google, in collaboration Walgreens and the mobile shopper platform Aisle411, has announced a new augmented reality shopping assistant that makes in-store deals “pop out” and helps shoppers find products on the shelves more efficiently.

A video released by Google (below) shows shoppers pushing a shopping cart equipped with a tablet. Each tablet uses Google’s Project Tango indoor 3D mapping technology to accurately and precisely sense its location within the store.

As shoppers move down the aisle, the tablet displays the exact locations of items on their shopping list and alerts them about deals on nearby products.

A gaming element has been introduced as well, allowing shoppers to earn rewards points by walking down certain aisles indicated on their store map.

The program will be piloted in retailers across the country in the coming months.

Why I’m Curious

I’m always interested in brick and mortar retailer’s efforts to offer connivence and service on par with their online counterparts. This latest effort is interesting because it goes a step further than in-store push notifications of deals. The precision of indoor mapping technology lets retailers know where you are, which products you’re nearby, and presumably (if you are using a shopping list feature) what’s in your cart. Using this information, retailers can gain insights about what you shop for and how you shop for it. They may know that you like buying certain items on a Monday, and offer you personalized rewards or incentives to get you shopping at their store more frequently.

It wasn’t that long ago when large-scale mapping projects such as Google Earth seemed mind-bogglingly cool, and now they are something that we take for granted. I’m curious to see how the indoor mapping revolution plays out and what new conveniences and annoyances come out of it.