Chinese supermarket pilots smart shopping trolleys at Shanghai store

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Smart shopping trolleys in China

Smart shopping trolleys in China

Chinese grocery retailer, Shanghai Lotus Supermarket Chain Store Co, is piloting a smart shopping trolley at its Shanghai store. The service uses a smart phone and a smart shopping cart equipped with a tablet PC to offer shopping-related information based on accurate indoor positioning technology. 

The technology is supplied by Korean mobile phone services provider, SK Telecom. The ‘Smart Cart’ is claimed to be the world’s first shopping trolley service that uses smart phones to provide information gathered through indoor positioning technology. 

Unlike previous RFID-based cart services provided by retailers, that only showed product information and discount offers within stores; Smart Cart – through synchronisation with smart phones – provides a variety of shopping tips, product information and discount/ special deal information in real time based on indoor positioning technology, says the company.

After downloading the Smart Cart application to their smart phones, customers can search for shopping/discount information, store coupons and draw up a shopping list. 

At supermarkets or retail stores, the customer’s smartphone is synchronised with a tablet PC installed to a smart shopping cart. Within the stores, depending on their location, customers can get useful information – for example, catalogue, product information, discount information, etc – and receive coupons. At the checkout counter, the tablet screen shows the list of purchased items, membership points and available coupons.

SK Telecom said it has been studying and developing diverse services and solutions based on its ICT capability since 2009.

The company expects Smart Cart will become a more personalised smart shopping service when combined with customer information – for example, shopping history, usage pattern, etc – managed by existing retailers. 

Customers will shop conveniently through product recommendations based on analysis of user’s shopping history and location information, it said. Manufacturers will be able to carry out targeted marketing for customers located in the store; and retailers will secure a new marketing channel that enables integrated and seamless communication with customers, the company claims.

SK Telecom said it is also planning to run pilot tests in Korea in the second half of 2011 through discussions with Korean retailers. 

Park In-Sik, executive vice president and head of enterprise business division at SK Telecom, said: “SK Telecom plans to build an ecosystem through which Smart Cart, developed to become an absolute necessity for retail, advertising and manufacturing industries, can firmly position itself as a new way of shopping for customers.”