Light beyond illumination
Light beyond illumination

Is it a shopping cart or basket?

It’s more likely their smartphone, says Google. They report nearly 80 percent of us* now reach for our smartphones as we walk in a store.

With smartphone use nearly ubiquitous, architects, lighting designers, store planners, and others who focus on transforming in-store shopping are watching with mounting eagerness the news coming out of Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Lille, France.

A pair of widely-respected retail innovators, aswaaq of the UAE and Carrefour of France, have launched location-based smartphone apps designed exclusively for in-store shoppers. The new hyper-accurate positioning services (within one foot) are powered by a breakthrough LED lighting technology called Visible Light Communication (VLC), pioneered by Philips Lighting.

Faster, More Enjoyable Shopping

“Our customers’ time is precious,” explains Affan Al Khoori, deputy CEO of aswaaq. “An advanced indoor positioning service available allows us to make shopping faster and more enjoyable.”

Céline Martin, Carrefour’s director of commercial models and innovation, agrees: “Thanks to this new application, our customers can now quickly search and locate their preferred promotions or detect all the promotions around them in-store. It’s a real time-saver.”

VLC technology transforms the shopper’s experience a variety of ways, including the expected in-store wayfinding. Now special offers, price checks, item-specific recipes, or any information unique to an SKU are immediately available. Early results indicate that the effect of apps on the shoppers’ journey can be transformative.

Real-Time Insights

The new LED lighting system advances indoor positioning technology far beyond clumsy, battery-powered devices that plague shoppers and retailers with uncertain performance, low placement accuracy, high network latency, and continuous maintenance.

For store designers and planners, VLC-powered services unlock a wealth of unprecedented shopper insights. What draws a shopper’s attention? What does a shopper’s heat-mapped journey look like in real-time? What commands dwell time? Where are the store’s hot spots? Cold spots? VLC technology reveals shopper behavior like never before.

Informative White Paper

A new white paper examines the technology and supporting apps in detail. The eight-page paper digs deeper into the Carrefour initiative, presenting four key take-aways along with an infographic on how the technology helps to reinvent the in-store app. It illustrates how indoor positioning can make a shopper’s journey more enjoyable and efficient, with features such as wayfinding, “show me where I am,” optimal shopping routes, location-specific information, and “come help me.”

The paper also discloses use-cases for surveyed grocery and DIY shoppers. To request a copy of the white paper, visit positioning. To learn more about our portfolio of products or to see new products such as the Philips Day-Brite linear suspended LBX which is ideal for retail spaces, please visit

US Team

In the US, Philips is partnered with Aisle411, a St. Louis, MO-based leader in digital store mapping. Their end-to-end in-store solution is now available to US merchants, with major pilot programs now in planning stages with several prominent retailers.

Meanwhile, the word on VLC-powered apps is spreading fast. Just weeks ago the German retail institute EHI awarded Carrefour with the 2016 Retail Technology Award for Best Customer Experience. Philips was honored with the 2016 Top Supplier Retail Award.

To learn more about indoor positioning or to request a copy of the white paper, visit To learn more about our portfolio of products or to see new products such as the Philips Day-Brite linear suspended LBX which is ideal for retail spaces, please visit

*Google Shopper Marketing Agency Council, Mobile In-Store Research: How in-store shoppers are using mobile devices, April 2013