Intelligent lighting systems are coming to retail and opening up potential new opportunities for consumer engagement and value propositions.
Following the long-used geofencing and newer beacons for in-store targeting, connected lights are promising to up the location ante.
A major lighting company plans to launch the light location tracking system in U.S. retail stores this year.
After successfully piloting its connected lighting system in French retailer Carrefour last year, Philips Lighting is now implementing the indoor positioning ready lighting technology across all of Carrefour’s hypermarkets in France. This gives the retailer the option to move to indoor positioning when it wants.
Philips is also working to install a connected lighting system with a retailer in the United Arab Emirates. Next up, says Philips, is the United States.
The connected lighting system utilizes technology that enables the lights to be able to communicate with surrounding devices and lighting fixtures based on light, rather than Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
The IoT Daily caught up with Ravi Koul, marketing director of retail and hospitality at Philips Lighting, for more insight on how the system will allow marketers to more precisely target shoppers.
“The new system uses lights that act as a positioning system, which allows customers to use smartphones to access new location-based services,” Koul told the Daily.
“This empowers the retailer to provide a smooth shopping experience for their customers, which may help boost sales and customer loyalty.” (Koul will be presenting the light-location capabilities for marketing at the MediaPost IoT Marketing Forum on Aug. 3 in New York.)
Using lighting for location-based marketing is relatively new.
The tracking capabilities of these systems are significantly more accurate than beacons or geofences and can locate a smartphone to within 8 to 12 inches. This narrow targeting is expected to lead to new innovations and experiences within retail.
One example in a video from Philips is a consumer at a grocery store receiving in-store navigation via smartphone to the ingredients they need for a recipe, based on an app in the phone. The signal from the lights determines the precise location of a shopper in the store and then a deal for a certain brand of one of the products on the recipe list could be triggered, just as they approach the actual product.
The technology, called Visible Light Communication, is available, reliable and measurable now, according to Koul, one of the executives leading the roll out of targeted lighting technology in the U.S.
“VLC in combination with mobile, will enable a true omni-channel experience within the store, as well as driving increased productivity, improved customer satisfaction, larger basket size and a deeper understanding of customer behavior and preference through data generated by the system,” Koul said.
“It enables retailers to engage customers in a more meaningful way, and to use location data analytics to measure marketing impact and assess store operations.”
Consumers may not recognize any change in a store’s lighting, but their smartphones will.