French retailer tests NFC as aid for visually impaired shoppers

The Casino supermarket chain is testing the use of NFC tags as a way for visually impaired and physically disabled customers to obtain product details including pricing and ingredient lists.

Groupe Casino
CASINO: The retailer is investigating NFC as an enabler for accessibility

French supermarket chain Casino is conducting a test to investigate the potential of NFC tags to help visually impaired shoppers.

The supermarket is conducting the test at a specialist laboratory, run in conjunction with L’Institut de la Vision, at Hopital des Quinze-Vingts in Paris. A live trial in a Casino store located near the hospital is set to follow in 2012.

The lab, which replicates a typical 60sqm Casino store, was opened two months ago and is designed to help test and develop solutions that make the retail experience more accessible and simple for blind, partially sighted and physically disabled people.

The lab is investigating the potential of NFC and other technologies such as tablet PCs to improve the shopping experience both in store and before the shopper leaves home. Apple iPads, for instance, are being tested as a way to help blind and partially sighted customers prepare for travel to Casino shops and to find the products they need on their shopping list as well as to improve the online shopping experience.

The focus of the NFC test, however, is on using phones to help customers get product information — including the name of a product, its price and details of what it contains — by reading an NFC tag. Using NFC is also seen as a way to drive customer loyalty, localising customers to their nearest or favoured Casino store, and the findings from the research conducted at the lab are expected to provide benefits for all customers, a Casino spokesperson has told NFC World.

The NFC technology being tested by Casino was designed and developed by NFC retail specialist Think&Go NFC.

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