Points Electronic Street Sign – Wayfinding is always a tough solution to provide to customers at the best of times. Retail outlets are not always simple places to navigate when searching for a particular item that could be in various sections. These Points Electronic Street Signs are notable for their simplicity and novelty. Type in what you are looking for and the directional signs swing around to point in the right direction with the relevant text displayed on the sign. Would something this basic work in a big box store? In my experience, even going in the general direction is a lot more helpful than wandering from one section to another. Are lightbulbs near lighting or cleaning products? If placed correctly and with aisle details maybe something like this could work!
Amazon Fresh – I’ve been watching the Amazon grocery business for some time now, and it looks like they might have their formula worked out from their efforts in the US Northwest as they are starting to roll groceries further afield. Competing traditional grocers would do well to provide an ecommerce experience tied to their stores to avoid Amazon cutting into their business with effectively no delivery charges (via Prime), Amazon Subscribe and Save, and the ability to leverage other trips to regular clients.
Mobile Gear – The mobilegear ecommerce site does an incredible job of finding a niche and a very simple and effective way to sort through product without resorting to the age-old web strategy of showing categories of lists at the side of the page. They also have some really thoughtful offerings for their chosen segment. I don’t need a mobile desk, but this makes me want one!
3D Printing – 3D printing is getting more and more mainstream as Amazon starts a 3D printing section on their site. Not hard to see where this leads – Amazon providing distribution of files to print new items at home.
SmartThings – SmartThings is a kickstarter funded solution for home automation. It includes a wireless hub that can interface to sensors (open, closed, motion, presence, temperature and more) and then to mobile devices via an app. Ideally this solution can make home automation far more cost effective, but from a retailer perspective it could also represent a cost effective dashboard for store managers. How about a notification to a manager’s mobile device if a freezer case dropped below a certain temperature, or that the back door that never closes quite right when someone leaves isn’t shut? Even if the manager isn’t at the store, they could call someone to make sure the freezer is checked and repaired and that the door is secure.