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App helps visually impaired shop at Wegmans

Posted at 9:08 PM, Sep 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-14 21:08:03-04

An app is changing the way people who are visually impaired shop for groceries. Wegmans is the first supermarket to partner with the app and offer it in stores for free.

It’s called Aira, and it’s normally subscription based, but at Wegmans, it’s free for anyone to use. It connects users to an agent who uses GPS maps and the users phone camera to help them get around the store.

Before this partnership, grocery shopping was somewhat of a challenge for someone who is blind or visually impaired, having to rely on someone to help them get what they need.

“It’s kind of a hit or miss because you get a shopper’s assistant and sometimes they are really great at what they do,” said Britni Witter, an Aira user. “And other times they are new or don’t know where something is.”

For users like Witter, this kind of technology is life changing. She’ll still need assistance, but is happy to know help is always at her fingertips.

“Honestly it helps me feel like I’m doing it more on my own,” said Witter. “And I feel like I have more freedom of choice.”

Wegmans partnership with Aira began about two weeks ago. The supermarket says this is just another way they are investing into making sure everyone’s experience is a good one.

“We want to provide incredible customer service for all of our customers,” said Linda Lovejoy, Wegmans Community Relations Manager. “We’ve done things like hearing loops, we’ve done things like mobility issues with carts and wider aisles and we’ve done things beyond ADA.”