You enter your regular grocery store, quickly finding and checking off items from your shopping list — on your Apple Watch.
Retail visionaries have frequently raised that image of shopping efficiency to illustrate how mobile devices can change in-store shopping. Today, Kiev, Ukraine-based Lat.io is announcing it has developed a smart app to do just that in any store.
Called Capitan, it wants to turn your shopping list into your assistant.
The goal, according to CEO and cofounder Artur Kiulian, is to create an “A.I.-powered shopping list [that has] learned your habits.”
If you always pick up milk and bread at Shop Rite but get coffee, cereals, and veggies at Trader Joe’s, Captain will show those lists when you walk through their doors.
“Fruits can show up when you enter the fruit aisle,” he noted. And for those of us whose significant others always call with forgotten items, others can add updates who have the app and share the list.
But the real value-add, aside from reducing the scraps of paper in your life, could be turning you into a samurai shopper.
Want to get rye bread? The app can navigate you right there, aisle by aisle. The app can also make suggestions about frequently chosen items, when you’re in the appropriate aisle.
To know where the items are, the store must have beacons or Wi-Fi, which Captain uses to triangulate the position where you removed the rye bread from your list.
Capitan infers that’s where the rye bread is, based on aggregated and anonymous data about where most people scratched it off the list in that store. Once the item locations have been determined, the list is automatically sorted for efficient navigation.
The platform can also determine in-store product placement through a data feed from the store’s API. Lat.io is ready to utilize that approach, but not many stores are doing that yet. Calling up that store’s list when you enter the building is accomplished through GPS.
The beta version, planned for Apple’s App Store when the wearable comes out at the end of next month, will be Watch-focused. The paired iPhone version will initially only offer settings control and entering new items on your list. Kiulian said that a fully functional iPhone version is in development and that an Android version is in the works.
But it’s not just for groceries. The app also includes other categories of stored shopping lists, like appliances or gadgets — although it’s hard to imagine making a list for, say, “refrigerator, toaster, and stove.”
Capitan will be a paid app, although pricing is not yet determined.
As for competitors, Kiulian noted that Target is one of several retailers with such an app, although it’s targeted, shall we say, at its own stores.
The iBeacon platform InMarket is “potentially working on the same solution,” he said. He claimed that Capitan appears to be the first generalized version and the only one building its in-store product location map through an aggregation of everyone’s shopping list actions.