Finding Products

Ace Hardware.JPG
One of the things I really like about online shopping is the powerful search capabilities. Its fairly easy to find exactly what I'm looking for quickly. That's not so in most stores, especially when searching for something small in a big-box format. That seems to happen to me all the time in hardware stores, so I decided to try out Ace Hardware's new product location service, driven by small start-up Aisle411. Here's how it works:


  1. Dial 1-877-247-5341, a free call, from a cell phone. You're presumably doing this from within the store.

  2. The voice response system says something like, "hey, you're a first-time caller so here's how this works." It then explains how the system will help me find the product I'm looking for.

  3. Say the city and state. In this case, I used "St. Louis, Missouri."

  4. Say the store. In this case, I used "Ace Harwdare."

  5. The system correctly identified the Manchester Road store and offered to text me a $5 coupon. I accepted and the coupon immediately hit my cell phone.

  6. The system asked for the product I was searching for. I said "toilet flapper."

  7. The system announced an ad, I believe it was for furnace filters.

  8. Then it told me the toilet flappers were located on aisles 17a and 18.

  9. It also offered to text the info to me , which I accepted.

So in exchange for listening to a 5 second ad, I got a coupon and the location of the product I was searching for. Not bad. But I wonder how accurate most retailers keep their plan-o-grams. I would be pretty frustrated if that toilet flapper wasn't in either of those aisles.

More information at Mobile Marketer.

Comments:

Seems like we are getting closer to location based in-store helper applications! I have been dreaming of such apps that can help locate the 'product' in a store.

The phone call based app to locate the item is good but a mobile app that can detect the location automatically and help locate the aisle would be way cooler.

http://www.kiranslog.com/superaisle-an-iphone-app-concept

Posted by Kiran on August 20, 2009 at 05:01 PM CDT #

Kiran, yeah I was expecting use of GPS, but this low-tech approach reaches more consumers.

Posted by David on August 21, 2009 at 12:57 AM CDT #

as I know so far about GPS, its a cool gadget and very useful...

Posted by watzabatza on August 22, 2009 at 12:44 AM CDT #

This service is great and I have tested it as well. I found exactly what I was looking for.

Posted by Ben on August 25, 2009 at 12:32 AM CDT #

Excellent application - product uptake should ramp-up with economy improving

Posted by Tim on August 26, 2009 at 03:07 AM CDT #

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David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.


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