Chemist Warehouse is "considering" installing thousands of sensors in each of its stores to understand consumer foot traffic and what products they are most interested in buying.
AMS solutions architect Antoine Sammut - who has spent five years at the retailer - told VMWare’s vForum in Sydney that the pharmacy chain was interested in both IoT and augmented reality.
“The opportunity that IoT gives us is tremendous,” Sammut said.
“We can actually get to the point where we can almost feel what is happening in a store. It’s a strange concept but when [consumers] go shopping [they] will dwell in particular areas [and] … pick up products and look at them.
“As a retailer we need to be able to understand is this product interesting and how we can actually improve the experience.
“In order to be able to deliver that, we are considering having thousands upon thousands of sensors out there, within each store having over 1000 sensors.”
Sammut said that under the proposal, some of the data processing would occur “at the edge” before data was drawn back to a central point and machine learning algorithms were applied to it.
He also indicated that Chemist Warehouse is interested in using augmented reality as a virtual guide for consumers to navigate a store.
Chemist Warehouse first raised this prospect at the end of last year, expressing a desire to be able to guide a consumer directly to the product they wanted to purchase.
Sammut raised the idea again at vForum.
“We want to be able to take you into our stores and guide you through our stores using augmented reality,” he said.
“A lot of phone devices out there are starting to become capable of doing that.”
However, he also suggested that augmented reality could be used to train Chemist Warehouse’s employees as well.
“We’re looking at the concepts of AR to teach them the tasks they need to do and guide them at their learning pace,” Sammut said.
“If you’re learning quickly, we’ll advance you more quickly [through the training].”