Meijer Invests in Technology to Support Blind and Low Vision Community
Midwest superstore Meijer is no stranger to innovation, having pioneered the first supercenter more than 60 years ago. That passion for innovation drives the company to explore and invest in services to ensure an accessible experience for its customers. Most notably, Meijer was among the first retailers in the Midwest to offer free use of the visual guidance app Aira in its stores in 2020, and this year, began utilizing ScripTalks to ensure safety and independence for its blind and low vision pharmacy patients.
In 2020, Meijer began absorbing the costs for its customers to use Aira in all its stores across Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. Aira is a service that connects blind and low vision people to highly-trained, remotely-located agents through the cameras of their smartphones. At the touch of a button, Aira connects customers, who need immediate visual assistance with anything from reading in-store signage to product labels.
“It’s so difficult for the blind and low-vision to navigate different places, whether it be transportation or retail environments, so we’re just thrilled that a company like Meijer has dedicated so much effort and resources to supporting that community,” said Brad Kaufman, Director of Development for the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
In June of this year, the retailer rolled out a partnership with ScripTalk, another new technology to benefit its blind and low vision customers. When a patient needs this service, their Meijer pharmacist affixes a tag to their Meijer prescription bottle. This tag allows a patient to utilize a talking unit or cell phone app that reads all the details on the pharmacy bottle aloud to them. The information includes patient name, drug name, dosage, instructions, prescription number, date, pharmacy information and warnings. It also allows a patient, who is visually impaired, to independently manage their drug therapy while improving medication safety.
“These investments are small steps we can take to make our customers’ experiences as accessible, independent and positive as possible,” said Tim Williams, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Meijer. “It’s exciting to explore future innovations we can embrace along this journey to build an inclusive shopping experience for all.”