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New Zealand: Wellington supermarket trials GPS trolley tracking

If you happen to be shopping at New World’s supermarket in Wellington, you might notice ten trolleys with a bit of GPS kit attached to the front. This is because New World wants to know how you shop, where you stop, and for how long.

Those ten trolleys have been fitted with a device about twice the size of a bank card, which uses ultra-wideband (UWB) radio technology to record how people use the trolleys. This is all part of a study called the Trolley Location Project.

They can track movement within 10-30cm accuracy, and will be used to provide insights on how each trolley moves, and how long it spends at various stops. So, if you spend 5 minutes trying to look for the best fruit and 10 minutes reading magazines, the trolleys are going to know about it.

New World Island Bay owner-operator Amanda Elliot says the ten trolley are clearly marked. She also says the data that the trolleys collect is ‘completely anonymous’: “Everyone shops differently – some like to meander around the store while many others with busy lives like to get what they want as quickly as possible. Time is the one commodity that many of us don’t have enough of. So if we can organise the store in a way that suits them, their shopping experience will be enhanced.”

According to futurefive.co.nz the company behind the devices, Breadcrumb Data, launched in 2016. It developed its GPS technology through Te Papa’s Mahuki Accelerator.

“When Breadcrumb approached us about this we were keen to be part of something that could help us better understand our customers while also supporting Kiwi innovation,” says Elliot.


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