5 Tools Retailers Can Use to Create Indoor Maps

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google-map-enterprise-coordinateMobile navigation apps can easily direct consumers to a business’ front door, but once shoppers step foot inside — where the real action takes place — they’re usually on their own. Now, a handful of indoor mapping vendors are using hyperlocal technology to help retailers, malls and other large venues take the next step in guiding customers through the purchase funnel, with tools for developing interior maps that can be used to direct shoppers toward specific aisles or locations within an establishment.

Here are five hyperlocal vendors providing interior mapping tools to retailers, museums, hospitals, sports arenas, and other large venues.

1. Meridian: Build turn-by-turn directions into your smartphone app.
Hospitals, retailers, museums, stadiums, and airports can improve the functionality of their mobile apps with Meridian. Meridian provides a way to add turn-by-turn directions to interior maps, along with information to help smartphone users find points of interest (like bathrooms, classrooms, or even vending machines) inside large buildings. Businesses can build their own cross-platform apps with Meridian’s AppMaker tool, or they can add indoor navigation features to their existing apps. Businesses can also add “blue dots” to their maps to show customers exactly where they are located at inside a building any time.

2. Wifarer: Create an indoor GPS app using your existing WiFi system.
Wifarer has developed a way for schools, stadiums, airports, museums, medical offices, and department stores to utilize their existing WiFi systems to create indoor positioning apps. Businesses can use Wifarer’s tools to create their own custom apps, which include turn-by-turn navigation, location-aware content (like push notifications that appear when a user walks into a certain aisle), and interactive directories. Smartphone users can type the product they’re looking for (like “hammers” or “diapers”) into a retailer’s mobile app, and Wifarer will provide an indoor path for getting to the item on the store shelf.

3. Point Inside: Add “spatially-aware” features to your mobile app.
Retailers can use Point Inside to add in-store modes to their mobile apps. Point Inside’s “StoreMode” features can be used to create indoor maps, interactive store layouts, product locators, and “efficient routes.” People who use their mobile phones to search for products from inside a business can receive store-specific results, including drop pins that show exactly where a product can be found on a store map. Businesses can send promotions to shoppers based on their current locations. They can also use the data they gather to learn more about the path to purchase and find out where customers are spending the majority of their time.

4. Visioglobe: Simultaneously publish maps on your mobile app, website, and kiosks.
Airports, malls, and exhibition organizers can use Visioglobe’s cloud-based map management solution, VisioMapEditor, to create, edit, and publish indoor and outdoor maps on smartphone apps, websites, and kiosks. Businesses provide Visioglobe with PDF or AutoCAD files, and Visioglobe uses this information to create three-dimensional navigation maps. These maps can then be modified at any time and re-published simultaneously across multiple platforms. Malls and other large venues can use Visioglobe’s tools to improve their mobile apps and analyze shopper behavior. Sales offices can also use the features when leasing commercial spaces to tenants.

5. Aisle411: Create a searchable store map.
Aisle411 provides a way for retailers to “digitize” their store inventories and floor plans to create searchable store maps. These maps can be integrated into a retailer’s existing mobile apps. Offers from CPG brands are triggered by location, popping up automatically on a store map when the shopper steps into a particular aisle or department. Aisle411 also provides retailers with indoor positioning tools that can be used to track shopper behavior and dwell times. Aisle411 Local is the vendor’s syndicated product directory, providing local optimized inventory information to shoppers who search on their smartphones. Aisle411’s platform utilizes a combination of existing WiFi networks, mobile device sensors, and Bluetooth.

Know of other tools that stores, malls, and other large venues can use to create indoor maps? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.