Real-time locating systems (RTLS), based on affordable Bluetooth® tags, offer tremendous possibilities for optimisation and cost savings in the retail and hospitality industries. From supermarkets and restaurants to amusement parks and interactive museums, location-based services help companies across the world streamline their business processes, while transforming their customer experience.
RTLS opens up exciting new opportunities for fine-tuning store performance and improving customer satisfaction in the retail sector. Inventory management, new shopping applications and smart navigation services are only some of the possibilities.
At the most basic level, high-accuracy location solutions enable retailers to keep track of their inventories in real time. Knowing the exact location of products along with their quantity is essential, especially for large retailers that display items at multiple locations within the store. Handheld scanners used to check items into inventory can be outfitted with Bluetooth location functionality that enables them to be tracked with in-store tracker beacons. This allows precise location data to be logged automatically for each product as it is entered into inventory.
RTLS can help retailers optimise their operations, using location data to identify the most efficient store layouts, streamline customer traffic and make optimum use of prime in-store real estate.
Research shows that shoppers can take significantly different routes through a store depending on whether they are shopping with large or small shopping carts, wheeled shopping baskets or small handheld baskets. High-accuracy indoor location services offer new possibilities for optimising the range of shopping carts and baskets used by customers. Real-time location of shopping carts and baskets can also be used to predict queue formation and to ensure that enough staff are available at checkout counters.
Real-time location provides a range of possibilities for anti-theft systems. The ability to track the location and movement of high-value assets or products can also help store staff optimise their focus on sales efforts.
Lightweight and cost-effective Bluetooth tags allow the movement of high-value products to be monitored with significantly greater accuracy than traditional RFID based exit gates. This can be useful not only for theft prevention, but also for noting customer interest in key products.
Real-time locating systems can streamline customer service and speed up table deliveries at fast food restaurants. Integration with mobile applications enhances the dining experience and enables customers to avoid queues in the restaurant.
Smart tracker tags can transform the traditional delivery and service paradigm at fast food restaurants. Upon ordering at the counter or at a self-service kiosk, customers can receive a tracker tag that enables food runners to locate the correct table without delay. For even faster service, customers can pre-order and pay for their food on a location-enabled mobile app, going directly to the table of their choice upon arrival, without needing to stand in line at the order counter.
At exhibition centers, location data is a valuable asset for visitors, exhibitors and conference organisers. RTLS helps find and connect the right people at the right time, while providing powerful new capabilities for event planning and venue design.
Exhibitors may use location data to gain insight into the typical profile of visitors at their stand, and which products are attracting the most attention. Heat-mapping analytics of the entire venue help organisers optimise floor space and layouts.
RTLS offers powerful capabilities for immersive content and interactive experiences. The same systems used to deliver content to customers can also be used for access management as well as safety applications without any additional infrastructure.
Museums around the world are using real-time locating systems to take their visitor’s experience to the next level. Interactive visitor applications can provide seamless audio guidance or additional content based on how the visitor moves through the museum. Similarly to retail applications, real-time location data enables designers to optimise their offering by understanding the visitor flow and heavily visited exhibits in the museum.
At amusement parks, wristbands used for access control can also be used to keep track of children, either through a mobile application or by allowing staff to locate them in an emergency. Adding location data to the existing payment and access control functionality of the wristbands enables a wide range of added value solutions for park operators.
Companies in every sector of the retail and hospitality industries are using real-time locating systems to improve efficiency, customer experience and gain new business value from location-based data.
The Mizkan Museum (MIM) is an interactive museum where visitors can learn about the company’s history as a vinegar manufacturer, and about the charm of Japanese food.