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Mapping the path

to profitable in-store journeys

Retailers are boosting sales and enhancing the shopping experience by building mobile apps based around indoor positioning and data analysis.

Imagine going into a supermarket, opening a mobile app and having all your groceries pinpointed on a store map. And imagine if the app offered you discounts for items near where you’re standing and those on your shopping list.


It’s a reality thanks to connected lighting. Retailers are creating innovative, interactive in-store experiences by sending relevant information to shoppers via data-enabled LED lighting systems and specially designed mobile apps.

Indoor positioning through visible light communication
How lighting can improve indoor location

The system has the potential to transform shopping into a more interactive experience."


Gerben van der Lugt

Manager of LED-based indoor positioning at Philips Lighting

Unique codes sent via light

One way of wirelessly communicating with shoppers’ smartphones is built into the LED technology itself. With visible light communications (VLC) from Philips, a unique code can be transmitted through a beam of LED light. The smartphone’s camera detects the code and creates a real-time link between the shopper and the lighting system.


As a result, the smartphone can pinpoint the shopper’s location on a store map, and display relevant product information and special offers. The technology requires shoppers to opt in to accept the information via an app. And because the data stream is one way, users’ personal information is safe.

indoor GPS for retail infographic 1 - mobile apps for indoor positioning

Unique code

Unique code from the LED light beam can be detected by any smart device with a camera

indoor GPS for retail infographic 2 - one way location code
One way location code

System acts like an "indoor GPS" – each light point transmits a one-way location code. Once connected, customers can orient themselves in the store and receive targeted discounts via Promo C’ou, an easy-to-use mobile app developed by Carrefour.
indoor GPS for retail infographic 3 - interactive in-store experience

Fully integrated

Philips indoor positioning software is fully integrated into Carrefour’s mobile app and supported by a cloud based location database operated by Philips.

Carrefour: indoor positioning in action

With 10,000 stores in more than 30 countries, French supermarket chain Carrefour is a retail giant. At its Lille hypermarket, conventional fluorescent lights have been replaced with 2.5km of connected LED luminaires, complete
with Philips indoor positioning technology.

The installation has halved the store’s energy consumption, having an immediate impact on Carrefour’s bottom line. Plus the unique qualities of the LED lighting have added color to food – particularly fresh produce and meats – making it more appealing to customers. But Carrefour was looking for more than energy savings and stunning illumination from its investment. The company wanted to harness the power of connected lighting to strengthen its relationship with customers.


The installation included 800 linear LED luminaires, each incorporating Philips VLC technology, which can identify a customer’s in-store location to an accuracy of half a meter. Shoppers use Carrefour’s Promo C’ou app to access a store map, see promotions based on their shopping preferences and where they’re standing, and alert the supermarket to out-of-stock products.

city farming
fresh food

Customers can now search and locate  their preferred promotions or detect all the promotions around them when they are in-store.”


Celine Martin
Carrefour’s Director ofCommercial Models and Innovation

Smartphone use while shopping

42% use a smartphone to review their shopping list
42% use it to review their shopping list*
37% use a smartphone to search for discounts and offers **
37% use it to search for discounts and offers **
60% increase in shoppers' use of a retailers app when location-based services are added***
60% increase in shoppers' use of a retailers app when location-based services are added***

*  Google Shopper Markerting Agency Council 2014

** Ninth Avenue Q4 2014

*** Philips/TNS 2015


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If you have any questions, ideas or inquiries as to how this application could work in your retail environment, get in touch.

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