Wegmans Food Markets is now offering a free service called Aira, where those who are blind or have low vision can use either a smartphone or a pair of smart glasses to navigate the store.
“It is very freeing and very exhilarating to be able to go and be able to shop independently,” said Lucy Marr, who has been using the Aira app for a while.
When Marr gets to the store, she taps into the app and within seconds, she’s connected to an agent, who walks her through the store.
“They can pull up maps on their computer and tell me where to turn, what aisle products are located in. And they can see through the camera so they can guide me directly to products,” Marr said.
Aira launched three years ago–but Wegmans is the first grocery store to offer the service to customers for free.
“Now we’re just moving from industry by industry to allow more people to make their locations completely accessible,” said Marty Watts, Director of Sales for Aira.
However, it’s not just used in grocery stores.
“I’ve used them in all different kinds of situations, not just shopping. I can use them for identifying things in my home, or if I’ve gotten lost somewhere they can help me get re-oriented,” Marr said.
Above all, though, Marr said she appreciates the customer service the most.
“The agents are just fantastic — they are very well trained — they give us information about the environment and that’s the key to things,” Marr said.
The app can be accessed at all Wegmans locations.