WO2006056012A1 - A method and system for assisting consumers - Google Patents

A method and system for assisting consumers Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2006056012A1
WO2006056012A1 PCT/AU2005/001779 AU2005001779W WO2006056012A1 WO 2006056012 A1 WO2006056012 A1 WO 2006056012A1 AU 2005001779 W AU2005001779 W AU 2005001779W WO 2006056012 A1 WO2006056012 A1 WO 2006056012A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
accordance
products
information
list
method
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/AU2005/001779
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Gregory Joseph Phillips
Original Assignee
Gregory Joseph Phillips
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to AU2004906766A priority Critical patent/AU2004906766A0/en
Priority to AU2004906766 priority
Application filed by Gregory Joseph Phillips filed Critical Gregory Joseph Phillips
Publication of WO2006056012A1 publication Critical patent/WO2006056012A1/en

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination

Abstract

A method for facilitating merchandising of a set of products, comprising the steps of providing instructions to create an outcome from use of the set of products, and providing further instructions as to the location of each of the set of products within a merchandising outlet.

Description

A METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR ASSISTING CONSUMERS

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a system and method for assisting consumers, and particularly, but not exclusively, to a system and method for providing consumers with information to assist in the purchase of products in a retail store.

Background of the Invention

Due to time constraints (i.e. work and other commitments), consumers spend less time planning their weekly shopping, and will often shop after work, buying small quantities on a daily basis rather than large quantities once a week or fortnight.

This change in consumer behaviour has required many retail stores to change their behaviour and the way they interact with consumers. Stores now open longer hours, have checkouts reserved for consumers who buy only a few items and offer a wide range of packages for consumers who do not wish to waste time choosing between different options. An example of a package is the pre-prepared meal, where consumers simply purchase a single item to be reheated and consumed at home. However, many consumers would prefer the option of preparing their own meals, but believe that they do not have the time or the expertise to do so, In particular, many consumers do not wish to spend any more time than necessary shopping for food items or ingredients for a recipe. Summary of the Invention

In a first aspect, the present invention provides a method for facilitating merchandising of a set of products, comprising the steps of providing instructions to create an outcome from use of the set of products, and providing further instructions as to the location of each of the set of products within a merchandising outlet.

The further instructions may include an indicator which indicates the location of each of the set of products within the merchandising outlet.

The indicator may be a symbol, an alphanumeric string, or a colour.

The set of products may be a list of ingredients on a recipe card.

The recipe card may contain advertorial information, nutritional information or information pertaining to the cost of the products on the list.

The location in the merchandising outlet may be an aisle of the merchandising outlet, a section within the aisle of the store, or a shelf within the section of the aisle of the merchandising outlet.

In a second aspect, the present invention provides an information containing medium for delivering information to a consumer, the medium comprising a list of a set of items, each of the set of items being associated with at least one indicator, wherein the indicator provides the location of the. each of the set of items within a store.

In a third aspect, the present invention provides a system for producing a list to guide a consumer to a set of products amongst a plurality of products in a store, comprising an interface arranged to receive information from the consumer regarding the list of products the consumer wishes to locate, arid a server arranged to, on receipt of the information, access a database to produce the list of products, the list of products further including an indicator associated with each of the list of products, the indicator providing the user with knowledge of the location of each of the set of products, such that the consumer may locate each of the set of products amongst the plurality of products located in the store.

In a fourth aspect, the present invention provides a loyalty rewards method comprising the steps of providing a consumer with an information containing medium in accordance with a second aspect of the invention, and, on the consumer purchasing the items listed, providing the consumer with a credit to be utilised for redemption of a benefit.

Detailed Description of the Drawings

Features of the present invention will be presented in a description of an embodiment thereof, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figures 1A and 1B are illustrations of a front and back of a recipe card in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; and

Figure 2 is an illustration of a computing system which may be utilised to deliver, a recipe card in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

Description of a Specific Embodiment

The embodiment described hereafter is concerned with a methodology and an associated system which preferably reduces the amount of time required for a consumer to select items (such as recipe ingredients) in a retail store. Referring to Figures 1A and 1B, the embodiment described herein is directed to a recipe card for use in a supermarket, although .it will be understood that other embodiments of the invention would find use in analogous applications, such as in a hardware store, in an auto parts store, in a stationery store, in a variety store, or in any situation where the consumer is required to select a set of items from a plurality of disparate locations in a retail store.

In the embodiment shown in Figures 1A and 1B, a recipe card 100 is made available to consumers, the recipe card including a list of the raw ingredients 102 required to prepare a meal and instructions 104 (shown in Figure 1B) which outline how to prepare and cook the meal. The recipe may appear on both sides of the card, as shown in Figures 1A and 1B .

The recipe card may be delivered to the consumer in any appropriate way. For example, the recipe card may be prominently displayed at a location in a supermarket (or at the entrance to the supermarket) , or may be. made available as advertising material (in magazines or newspapers) . Alternatively, the recipe card, may be made available in an electronic format, such as on a website located on the Internet, or an electronic file that may be downloaded into a portable personal computer or a mobile phone. . .

The term recipe card is utilised in the present context to encompass all the abovementioned embodiments of a recipe card, plus other variations which would be obvious to a person skilled in the art. The recipe card 100, in addition to including a list of the raw ingredients 102 required for the recipe, also includes alongside each ingredient 102, an indicator 106 which describes the physical location of each of the raw ingredients in the supermarket. The location of each ingredient may be indicated on the recipe card in any appropriate way. For example, the location of the ingredient may be designated by describing a designated location within the supermarket, such as "Aisle 1, 3rd bay, top shelf" .

The indicator 106 allows the consumer to quickly and easily locate each raw ingredient as they progress through the aisles or sections of the supermarket. ideally, the list of raw ingredients would be arranged on the recipe card in an order that allows the consumer to progress through the supermarket and collect the necessary ingredients in an orderly and logical manner. For example, if the entrance to the supermarket is located adjacent to the 1st aisle, the raw ingredients would be listed on the recipe card in the order that a consumer would arrive at the ingredients if they entered the supermarket at Aisle 1 and progressed through the subsequent supermarket aisles (aisles 2, 3, 4, etc.) in a sequential manner. The embodiment may be utilised in any one of a chain of retail outlets. .A chain of retail outlets, whilst having a similar layout or "footprint" for each of the stores in the chain, may have stores that vary substantially from the standard store footprint, due to many factors, which include but are not limited to, space limitations, unusually shaped areas, temporarily varied layouts required to accommodate special promotions, evolving layouts due to the addition of new products or the deletion of discontinued products, and/or local requirements (e.g. where some ingredients, such as seasonal or regional vegetables and fruits, are made available in some stores of the retail chain but not in others) .

In such, situations, a paper based recipe card which includes directions to particular aisles may not provide the correct information for each of the stores in a chain. One possible solution is to tailor make a number of different recipe cards, each recipe card being relevant to a particular store.

Alternatively, if the consumer downloads the recipe card from an electronic service, such as a website located on the Internet or from another communications network (e.g. downloading into a mobile phone via a telecommunications network) , there may be provided a recipe card generating system. An embodiment of the system is shown at Figure 2. The Recipe card generator 200 includes a server 202 including a communication link 204 arranged to communicate information with a remote device (not shown in Figure 2) .

The remote device may be a personal computer, a PDA, a mobile phone, or any other device capable of receiving electronic information. The server 200 includes a database 206, which includes a list of recipes and information regarding store layouts.

When using the system, the consumer provides information regarding the recipe they wish to download, and the store at which they wish to shop. once the web server receives the information regarding the store that the consumer has chosen, the web server searches a database of store layout and ingredient location to generate an appropriate recipe card which provides the correct location of each of the ingredients for the store chosen. The selection may be performed utilising a static algorithm (i.e. the database contains a copy of each recipe for each store in the chain) or dynamically (i.e. each, recipe is generated from a database of raw information regarding the ingredients and their location in a particular store) .

In another embodiment, the recipe cards may be rendered "universal" by generalising the indicator utilised on the recipe card. That is, rather than utilise an aisle number or section number to denote the location of an item, the aisles or sections containing the raw ingredients for the recipe may be colour coded. Alternatively, another unifying and easily discernible indicator may be utilised (e.g. a flag, an alphanumeric code, a symbol, a coloured line which is painted on the floor to lead the consumer from one location to the next, or any other suitable indicator) . For example, each section in each aisle that contains one of the raw ingredients necessary for the recipe may be coloured.

Where a plurality of recipes is provided, a different colour can be utilised for each recipe. In this way, the consumer does not need to ascertain the exact location of each item from the recipe card as the consumer progresses through the store. Rather, the consumer can simply move from one aisle to the next, stopping only to retrieve the raw ingredient each time they encounter the discernible indicator.

For example, if the consumer wishes to collect the raw ingredients for the "blue" recipe card, the consumer will simply progress through the aisles in a logical fashion, choosing only the ingredients that are located on the shelves that are coloured blue, or following the blue line applied to the floor of the supermarket, stopping to retrieve goods at each location where the line points to shelf.

By utilising a universal indicator (such as a colour) each recipe card becomes usable at any store in a chain of stores. The consumer does not need to have any explicit information regarding the layout of a particular store, as the consumer is merely required to locate the correct indicator in each aisle or section. This embodiment also allows a store or. chain of stores to promote certain recipes without the need to explicitly provide a recipe card. For example, the store may wish to promote a recipe that has appeared in a magazine. To do so, they attach an indicator to each of the sections in the supermarket that houses each of the ingredients listed in the recipe.

Thereafter, the store merely needs to advertise this fact to consumers. For example, if they wish to promote a recipe that has appeared in "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine, they may apply an appropriate indicator at the location of each of the ingredients that are listed in the recipe, and then erect signs in store which advertise the fact. For example, the signs may say "To collect the ingredients required for this month's Better Homes and Gardens recipe, please collect ingredients from the green coloured shelves".

The recipe card may also include further information relevant to the consumer. For example, the recipe card may include a list of ancillary food items 108

(e.g. garlic bread) or drinks (e.g. wine), whose location in the store may also be. provided, so that the consumer may also locate the ancillary items easily. The recipe card may also include nutritional information 110, which may be useful to diabetics or people on special diets. The further information may also include an approximate cost for the meal 112. As will be appreciated, recipe cards may be provided for different cost ranges, so that consumers may choose a recipe card within their budget.

The recipe cards could be used in conjunction with promotions for certain name brand products 114. For example, recipe cards may mention certain ingredients by brand name, and the appropriate indicator may only be affixed to the brand, name ingredients explicitly recited on the recipe card. As many consumers may not be familiar with substitutes or may be pressed for time, they will be more likely to choose the brand name ingredient listed on the recipe card. Alternatively, brand names may appear on the recipe card (114) to prompt the consumer into purchasing at a particular retail chain or to purchase a particular product. Therefore, producers of food stuffs may derive a benefit from having their brand name food stuffs named on the recipe card. Other information relevant to the recipe (such as cooking times, sample photographs, etc) may also be included on the card (116) .

At least an embodiment of the present invention provides a number of advantages. Firstly, the consumer is able to shop for ingredients in a much more efficient manner, saving time. Secondly, the consumer may appreciate the free recipe cards and the ease with which they can find the ingredients, which may foster loyalty to the supermarket chain. Thirdly, the recipe card may be used as a vehicle for the. subtle promotion of brand name products and/or the promotion of associated products (e.g. alcoholic beverages) . Fourthly, the use of a recipe card provides a number or opportunities for cross-promotion between the store and manufacturers of other products (such as magazines) . Fifthly, the use of recipe cards .would preferably create a steadier flow of traffic through the store, as consumers can move directly from one aisle to the next, and do not need to consider their purchases in each aisle. The smooth flow of customers makes the use of such recipe cards advantageous for both consumers and the store, as it provides a less stressful retail environment. The recipe card may also be utilised in conjunction with a loyalty rewards scheme. For example, each recipe card may include a code 118 (encoded as, for example, an alphanumeric string, a bar code or a type of machine readable code) . When a consumer purchases all the items shown on the recipe card, the consumer may have points added to a loyalty reward program (either a program specific to the use of the recipe cards or a general loyalty program utilised by the chain of stores) , such that, after continued use o£ recipe cards (and the purchase of products listed on the recipe cards) the consumer is entitled to discounts, special offers, or any other suitable reward. This system further entices the consumer to utilise the recipe cards.

While the embodiment described herein makes reference to a recipe card system which will find natural application in a supermarket, it will be understood that other embodiments of the invention can. be utilised in analogous situations. For example, in a hardware store, a Do-It-Yourself project which requires a mixture of tools and/or building materials could be provided to consumers on a similar card system, and the indicators utilised in a similar manner, such that a consumer may easily find each product required by simply navigating through the aisles of the hardware store.

Moreover, it will be appreciated that other embodiments could find use in a variety store, where a "Back-to-School" promotion may require a consumer to purchase a number of items. Other examples may include cards for special events, such as Father's Day, birthday cards, cocktail mixing recipe cards for liquor outlets, Christmas cards and other special event cards if the store wishes to promote a certain group of products.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.

Claims

CLAIMS :
1. A method for facilitating merchandising of a set of products, comprising the steps of providing instructions to create an outcome from use of the set of products, and providing further instructions as to the location of each of the set of products within a merchandising outlet.
2. A method in accordance with Claim 1, the further instructions including an indicator which indicates the location of each of the set of products within the merchandising outlet.
3. A method in accordance with Claim 2, wherein the indicator is a symbol.
4. A method in accordance with Claims 1 or 2, wherein the indicator is an alphanumeric string.
5. A method in accordance with Claims 1 or 2, wherein the indicator is a colour.
6. A method in accordance with any one of Claims 2 to 5, wherein the set of products is a list of ingredients on a recipe card.
7. A method in accordance with Claim 6, wherein the recipe card includes advertorial information.
8. A method in accordance with Claim 6 or claim 7, wherein the recipe card includes nutritional information.
9. A method in accordance with Claim 6, 7 or 8, wherein the recipe card contains information pertaining to the cost of the products in the list.
10. A method in accordance with any one of Claims 1 to 9, wherein the location in the merchandising outlet is an aisle of the store.
11. A method in accordance with Claim 10, the location further comprising a section within the aisle of the store.
12. A method in accordance with Claim 11, wherein the location is a shelf within the section of the aisle of the store.
13. An information containing medium for delivering information to a consumer, the medium comprising a list of a set of items, each of the set of items being associated with at least one indicator, wherein the indicator provides information about the location of the each of the set of items within a store.
14. An information containing medium in accordance with Claim 13, wherein the indicator is a symbol.
15. An information containing medium in accordance with Claims 13 or 14, wherein the indicator is an alphanumeric string.
16. An information containing medium in accordance with Claims 13 or 14, wherein the indicator is a colour.
17. An information containing medium in accordance with any one of Claims 2 to 5, wherein the list is a list of ingredients.
18. An information containing medium in accordance with any one of Claims 13 to 17, wherein the medium is a paper or plastics item.
19. An information containing medium in accordance with any one of claims 13 to 17, wherein the medium is an electronic file storable in an electronic device.
20. An information containing medium in accordance with Claim 19 or 20, further including advertorial information.
21. An information containing medium in accordance with Claim 19 or 20, further including nutritional information.
22. An information containing medium in accordance with Claim 19, 20 or 21, further including information pertaining to the coat of the list of products.
23. A system for producing a list to guide a consumer to a set of products amongst a plurality of products in a store, comprising an interface arranged to receive information from the consumer regarding the list of products the consumer wishes to locate, and a server arranged to, on receipt of the information, access a database to produce the list of products, the list of products further including an indicator associated with each of the list of products, the indicator providing the user with information about the location of each of the set of products, such that the consumer may locate each of the set of products amongst the plurality of products located in the store.
24. A system in accordance with Claim 23, wherein the list is delivered as an electronic file to a portable electronic device.
25. A loyalty rewards method comprising the steps of providing a consumer with an. information containing medium in accordance with Claim 13, and, on the consumer purchasing the items listed, providing the consumer with a credit to be utilised for redemption of a benefit.
PCT/AU2005/001779 2004-11-26 2005-11-25 A method and system for assisting consumers WO2006056012A1 (en)

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AU2004906766A AU2004906766A0 (en) 2004-11-26 A method and system for assisting consumers
AU2004906766 2004-11-26

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Citations (8)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2001020527A1 (en) * 1999-09-15 2001-03-22 Meals.Com Retail location shopping assistance method and apparatus
WO2001020526A1 (en) * 1999-09-15 2001-03-22 Meals.Com Shopping list organizer apparatus and method
US20020145038A1 (en) * 1996-06-26 2002-10-10 O'hagan Timothy P. Electronic shopping system
US20030004831A1 (en) * 2001-06-07 2003-01-02 Owens Cstephani D. Interactive internet shopping and data integration method and system
US20030061113A1 (en) * 1998-05-29 2003-03-27 Adam Petrovich Portable electronic terminal and data processing system
US20030132298A1 (en) * 1996-09-05 2003-07-17 Jerome Swartz Consumer interactive shopping system
US20030158796A1 (en) * 2001-12-08 2003-08-21 Balent Bruce F. Distributed personal automation and shopping method, apparatus, and process
JP2004074604A (en) * 2002-08-20 2004-03-11 Dainippon Printing Co Ltd Recipe card, its creation method and system

Patent Citations (8)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20020145038A1 (en) * 1996-06-26 2002-10-10 O'hagan Timothy P. Electronic shopping system
US20030132298A1 (en) * 1996-09-05 2003-07-17 Jerome Swartz Consumer interactive shopping system
US20030061113A1 (en) * 1998-05-29 2003-03-27 Adam Petrovich Portable electronic terminal and data processing system
WO2001020527A1 (en) * 1999-09-15 2001-03-22 Meals.Com Retail location shopping assistance method and apparatus
WO2001020526A1 (en) * 1999-09-15 2001-03-22 Meals.Com Shopping list organizer apparatus and method
US20030004831A1 (en) * 2001-06-07 2003-01-02 Owens Cstephani D. Interactive internet shopping and data integration method and system
US20030158796A1 (en) * 2001-12-08 2003-08-21 Balent Bruce F. Distributed personal automation and shopping method, apparatus, and process
JP2004074604A (en) * 2002-08-20 2004-03-11 Dainippon Printing Co Ltd Recipe card, its creation method and system

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