Beyond Hyperlocal: Digital Coupons That Find You

Beyond Hyperlocal: Digital Coupons That Find You

New location-based technology could allow discounts to be pushed to shoppers for the products they are looking at in store.

Don Michael Acelar De Leon
  • 29 december 2010

Amid the various ways of acquiring coupons for discounts on wholesale and retail purchases, the New York Times reports on an interesting scenario where coupons can be acquired at the purchase point, instead of the common routine of printing and clipping them at home:

But what if manufacturers could make coupon offers on the spot, as you stood in the aisle, within sight of the promoted product? Your cellphone would identify your shopping predilections, allowing the manufacturer to withhold the offer if you were likely to buy the product anyway. The offer could go exclusively to those who just needed a little nudge.

The possibility is not a distant one. Point Inside, a mobile technology company in Bellevue, Wash., has been testing still-incomplete technology for determining where shoppers are standing in grocery stores and big-box retailers. The goal is to determine accurate locations to within one meter.

“You’ll probably have to create a new term for serving an ad unit based on where you are standing in a store,” says Joshua L. Marti, the company’s chief executive. “ ‘Hyperlocal’ does not convey how local we’re talking about.”

Current smartphone technology uses GPS and WiFi to find locations, but they are generally accurate only to within 30 meters or so, Mr. Marti says. And GPS loses accuracy as it penetrates walls. To build a system that will eventually solve this problem, Point Inside is relying on other means, like a geotagged reference point outside the store. It then uses AutoCAD software to create a detailed interior map of the store, assigning latitude and longitude to every aisle position.

Point Inside

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