Tracking grocery carts in stores and supermarkets
Source - Clint Hess
According to the statistics, every year shopping centers all over the world experience multimillion-dollar losses due to thefts or cart missing. Only in the USA annually, carts are stolen in the amount of 2 mln dollars. To solve this problem, many supermarkets use some trivial ways, such as installing video cameras or chaining carts. However, these measures do not bring positive results and make companies bear large expenses on purchasing new equipment. The most effective solution nowadays is tracking carts using the BLE technology that allows not only monitoring the movement of assets but also simplifies for customers the navigation around stores.
How does BLE assist in tracking carts?
Various technologies can be used for cart tracking. The Bluetooth Low Energy system is the most affordable one since it doesn’t require high implementation costs and allows tracking equipment within the accuracy of 3 m. The system makes it possible to monitor both stationary and moving carts, as well as define their location in real-time.
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The method is based on using iBeacons installed inside and outside stores. They can be placed at the doorway of the building for reading off cart entries and exits. At regular intervals, the beacons send signals detected by the readers. As soon as a cart gets into the beacon effective range, the receiver gets a Bluetooth signal from the beacon and defines its location. Carts can be directly equipped with radio-frequency tags that ensure exact cart tracking inside and outside shopping centers.
Alongside tracking carts in stores, the BLE system performs some additional tasks:
- builds interactive maps with shopping equipment visualization;
- helps to create routes to each cart;
- sends promotional push-notifications;
- finds special equipment inside stores;
- makes the analytics on the equipment and visitor motion;
- generates the heat maps of movements;
- informs on emergencies, if, for example, a cart leaves the territory of the shop.
Thanks to using the platform, it is possible to optimize the store performance, increase sales, prevent thefts, and improve asset management processes. The system allows object positioning in real-time, which simplifies the staff work and minimizes the losses connected with thefts or shop equipment missing.
Advantages of tracking carts in stores
The Bluetooth Low Energy technology can effectively assist companies in monitoring shop equipment and reducing costs on purchasing new items. Applying innovative solutions for tracking carts, supermarkets, and shopping centers can obtain many benefits:
- Accuracy – the system can calculate the number of carts entering and leaving the store to define the total number of available equipment.
- Speed – the technology allows quick cart monitoring and taking them to the places with bigger demand.
- Visibility – with the help of beacons, the store can detect the current location of the carts and easily define where they were at the required time or loaded into a car in case of stealing.
- Performance – BLE can significantly save time on searching lost or stolen carts.
- Simplicity – the system is extremely easy to manage and install. After the system realization, retailers themselves can install the platform and infrastructure in other stores of their chains and apply the settings general for all points of sale, which reduces time and resources for technical maintenance.
Experience has shown that generally carts are taken to the nearest parking lots or neighboring shopping centers. The monitoring system helps to prevent such things and warn about the exit of the carts from the store territory. The staff always knows where the equipment is and can save time on taking it back, while the management gets a possibility to significantly minimize the losses from stolen assets.
Additional features of the technology
Besides tracking and monitoring equipment, the BLE technology provides opportunities for convenient indoor navigation around stores. Let’s consider how it works in the context of shopping carts in the case of Kesko, a Finnish chain of supermarkets. Especially for this commercial network, Navigine developed the intellectual navigation solution providing for the usage of special tablets with the app. The visitor just has to take a smart cart with the tablet and state the name of the dish (or upload the list of products) and the device will build the optimal route to the stalls with the required goods.
Using the cart tracking technology, Kesko shops can solve a wide range of tasks:
- Ensuring convenient navigation around shops;
- Assisting customers in searching quickly the necessary goods;
- Increasing the size of an average check;
- Sending personalized advertisements and notifications to visitors.
The most noticeable effect from implementing the technology has become the growth of sales and the increase of an average check by 6%. The system of navigation has significantly increased brand awareness and also made it possible to improve the efficiency of marketing campaigns and get a conversion rate of 6%.
Navigine is ready to help shopping centers and retailers in creating and realizing the navigation and cart tracking platform. We provide effective geolocation-based solutions that are able not only to help customers but also to increase the company’s profit.
Vlad de Armas