2010.20 | Las Vegas | Self Service | Interactive Digital Signage | Vending

I was in Las Vegas at FMI last week and saw some interesting uses of technology in retail while I was there.  The beauty of Las Vegas is that solutions that may be cost prohibitive elsewhere can be experimented with in the unique high traffic, lucrative environment many know so well.   

Self service was apparent in Las Vegas – besides the thousands of slot machines, that is.  The buffet at Mandalay Bay allowed for payment for a buffet dining establishment, taking the diner as close to the old fashioned automat as is imaginable, what with self serve payment via debit/credit or cash, as well as serving themselves dinner.  The solution certainly appears to accommodate the massive numbers one has learned to expect in Vegas casinos.

Another solution in abundance was the use of large screen touch devices in retail settings.  Mandalay Bay Shops – the retail mall at Mandalay Bay had a large screen wayfinding unit that was engaging and interactive.  This particular mall was relatively simple to navigate, but devices of this sort could work even better in a larger retail shopping centre.  There are lots of additional potential around this technology including:

  • feedback to mall management on most searched destinations – allowing them to maximize value to retail tenants
  • animations to highlight the location and route to simplify the shopping experience
  • colour highlighting of retail destinations that are in the same area of interest – shoes, for example
  • ability to use areas of the wayfinding unit for revenue generating digital signage
  • ability to provide special offers to clients based on store selection
  • ability to leverage retailer loyalty programs away from the retailer site to gain insight into loyal clients behaviour away from stores

There were also a number of large format interactive digital signs placed vertically in front of restaurants to allow potential diners to peruse menus and specials.  (Link to China grill) The menu units weren’t getting a great deal of traffic when I was there, however there are lots of other screens to look at in Vegas, and I believe that while large format interactive digital signage is becoming increasingly common, many potential clients didn’t appear to know it was a touch screen.  This highlights the necessity of training consumers around self service solutions in order to maximize usage.  Best practices like consumer engagement and training are as important as the design of the device to ensure maximum benefit. 

There are a number of ZoomSystems vending machine store solutions in evidence in Las Vegas.  While common in airports, they seem to be relatively rare elsewhere.  In Las Vegas I encountered a number of Best Buy Express units boasting mobile accessories and iPods, as well as a Sepphora unit that was peddling cosmetics.  As per my post some time back on the convergence of self service and vending, you can expect decreasing costs combined with retailer experimentation and the fight for market share to drive more solutions like this outside of Las Vegas casinos and airports.

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