Asda is expanding its trial of new technology which will make it easier for blind and partially sighted customers to navigate their way through the store whilst they do their shopping.

Following an initial trial at Asda’s designated Technology-Innovation store in Stevenage, the supermarket is integrating a further 10 stores into the GoodMaps smartphone app.

The app can pinpoint the user’s location within one metre of accuracy and then communicate directions to product groups or areas via audio, enlarged visual, and touch commands. Shoppers using the app will be able to search for key landmarks within the store such as the pharmacy, toilets , and tills. The app can also, search for specific product categories on the shelves with the aim being to guide the customer as close as possible to the item they are looking for.

The new stores to be compatible with GoodMaps navigation technology are Blackburn, Caerphilly, Hulme, Totton, York, Killingbeck, Milton Keynes, Aintree, Queslett (Birmingham), and Wembley.

Neil Fairclough, Senior Director of Retail Transformation Asda said: “The trial at our Stevenage store showed us that this technology can really make a difference to customers who previously had difficulty navigating the aisles whilst shopping. The value of these trials is that we can take the learnings from each step and better integrate the technology as we go further into the trial phase, ensuring an even better experience for our customers and colleagues in these trial stores.”

Neil Barnfather, VP Europe for GoodMaps said: “Empowering people to get around autonomously, on their terms, and in a manner of their choosing, has been an aspirational goal for decades. GoodMaps Infrastructure-free technology delivers upon something that is so often taken for granted; to just be able to go and access a location without after thought. Asda’s unrivalled commitment to breaking down barriers to inclusion revolutionises how our community can perform a fundamental basic need, to be able to buy your weekly shop. We look forward immensely to continuing to expand the reach of the GoodMaps technology in partnership with Asda.”

Marc Powell, RNIB Accessibility Innovation Lead, said: “We know that shopping can be a challenge for blind and partially sighted people, from navigating a store, to locating and understanding products. That is why it’s so great to see an influential retailer such as Asda proactively championing accessibility through technology like GoodMaps.

“This is an encouraging step forward in creating a more inclusive world and an example of how improving accessibility for people with sight loss can actually enhance the customer experience for everyone.

“We urge all retailers to ensure accessibility is truly a priority so that new technology and advancements are used to improve the retail experience for people with disabilities and prevent inequality from spreading.”

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