In my travels online this week I saw a number of interesting ideas. While not particularly brand new, many of them are moving from an unlikely novelty to the kind of thing retailers are willing to try.
- Tesco has launched an iPhone app where customers can shop for all of their items on the phone and then set a delivery time. Interesting notion that should be fun to follow. Whether clients will have the patience to scroll through and pick everything for a larger order seems unlikely, but if there are saveable short lists of items that people are purchasing, it could represent a real convenience and the next iteration of the old web grocery model. I’m not sure if it is part of the solution presently, but adding this to the pickup option to their Click and Collect program would be an interesting shopping model!
- The general population are now accustomed to Self Service in a vending machine model where we purchase, but how about kiosks where we actually stock them for credits? One such example is the ecoATM, whose company was recently purchased by Coinstar. These units accept end of life mobile phones for resale or refurbishment. Pepsi is also into this game with their Dream Machine where users can drop off their recyclables for charity. Good idea in principle, but it may be challenging to implement. Of course, we could take recycling to a whole new level and recycle the self service machine itself as one German company is doing.
- La Boutique Puegot has a Virtual Mirror application online. The website allows users to take pictures of themselves with the webcam and “try on” different kinds of sunglasses prior to purchasing them. There are lots of virtual models out there, but the increasing availability of webcams makes this a possible staple for similar items like hats, hairstyles, scarves, and maybe even clothing.
- I recently met with Gridcast media, and very much enjoyed some of the unique empty storefront installations they have done for various advertisers around Toronto. I particularly enjoyed the storefront they did for DuskTV as well as the one for Caramilk. Expect more of this sort of interactive experience on the street with the decreased cost and sophistication of technology.