Imagining the Grocery Store Afresh

January 16, 2008 at 8:56 am | Posted in News, RFID | Leave a comment

I really don’t have much time for the grocery store. I particularly don’t have time to go through their weekly ads, pick up coupons from the paper, and figure out where the best buys are to help stretch the family budget. I’m kind of excited, therefore, to see ShopRite’s RFID project with Microsoft.

The companies have combined forces to create a smart shopping cart. When the cart will display advertisements and discounts based upon location, which it will sense using an onboard RFID reader. So, if you push the cart into the detergent area, the cart will inform you that Tide is 2 for the price of 1 today.

The smart cart idea isn’t a new one, really. Dynamic is working on one of these for one of our clients right now, although it will be used for marketing research, rather than customer service or sales.

Microsoft and ShopRite are funding the project with advertising, which seems to be a fairly common way to fund the transfer of information nowadays. I haven’t decided what I think about that, because I am sure ShopRite could get ROI on their RFID investment in many other ways. Still, this is a step in the right direction.

My ideal grocery shopping experience:

I walk in, take what I want from the shelf, and walk out the door. No checkout lines, no wondering if the expiration date is okay, no need to get my debit card out of my purse. I walk past an RFID reader carrying the things I want, and my total purchase is automatically deducted from my checking account. That would be perfect!

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