Retailers Go Up Front with Wi-Fi

Aug 25, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Wi-Fi technology (AKA 802.11) is being used for more than just warehouse and
backroom tracking inventory by a growing number of retailers and other companies
who have discovered these systems can substantially improve performance with
customer interactions.

The price of Wi-Fi systems also continues to fall. The New York Times
reports, “The high volume of production, driven by popular demand, has pushed
the price down to less than $100 for the local network routers at the heart
of the systems and less than $100 for the wireless circuit card that connects
a device, like a palm or laptop computer, to the network.”

Stop & Shop is using Shopping Buddy smart cart technology to help customers
order products from service departments, locate products in the store and scan
and keep tabs on the cost of goods being purchased.

Mira Genser, a spokeswoman for Cuesol, the designer of the Shopping Buddy’s
software told The New York Times, “It knows who you are. It knows what
you buy when you are usually there.”

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on the
need for retailers to use Wi-Fi and the benefits/drawbacks of the technology?

Consumer privacy advocates are going to have their concerns
about smart cart technology. We, however, are happy for anything that will make
shopping less tedious and/or stressful.
Anderson – Moderator

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