The retail drug store Walgreens has been working with a company called aisle411 to develop an in-store navigation system customers can use on their smartphones. Their mobile retail navigation app is currently being rolled out for smart phones in all 7,907 Walgreen's Drugstores nationwide.
By providing an in-store mapping platform, the app, which will work on all smartphones, will provide a more convenient shopping experience for customers. Essentially, customers will be able to use their smartphones to see a type of birds-eye view of the store and the aisles to see where they are and easily zoom in and find what they're looking for.
Looking ahead, as I tend to do, it's easy to see that a future refinement to the app will allow customers to see where employees are located in the store. So if you need help, you can look at the app and see that an employee is just a couple of aisles away, or that there's a shorter line at the cash register on the other end of the store.
This is a great beginning to in-store navigation, which has not been possible before because satellite GPS is not accurate enough for in-store use. Plus, depending on how big the store is and how many stories of cement are above you, GPS typically doesn't work well. But with in-store navigation, you're bypassing satellite GPS and using an in-store navigation system that is extremely accurate.
Walgreens is the first to roll this technology out nationally. But it's easy to see that other large retail outlets will be using this soon, like Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, Kmart, Target, and others, as they all try to create a better customer experience using technology.