2013.21 | june link dump

CapturePoints 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.

CaptureMobile 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.


SmartThingsSmartThings 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.

2013.03 – Hangers | Burgers | 3D Cases

Screenshot_2013-01-19_11_37_AMDigital Hangers – Shoppers at the Vanquish Ikebukuro PARCO store in Tokyo are experiencing a new twist on digital signage.  When the hanger with a clothing item on it is removed from the rack, a video clip of a model wearing that particular item is triggered and plays in large format on one of a number of LCD units that are part of a multiple video display array above the rack area.  This sort of context sensitive digital video solution is certainly a step up from playing standard video ads in a store.  Interactivity is certain to capture more interest from shoppers in store, and also provides for curation opportunities as the video can share combinations of items to wear with the featured apparel item. via Vsauce2 – (thanks Hussain!)

Screenshot_2013-01-19_11_47_AMEdible Packaging – Brazilian burger purveyor Bob’s recently unleashed a new ad campaign indicating that their burgers are so tasty that you can’t wait to eat them.  As part of that campaign, Bob’s are selling the burgers with edible wrappers.  Make sure you check out the video showing customers tucking into still wrapped burgers to get the full effect.  It’s a bit strange watching people chew on paper covered burgers. Bob’s wins the trifecta with an engaging campaign that ties well with selling their burgers, shows innovation and reduces waste to boot.

As a neatness obsessed individual, the idea of keeping burger mess inside paper really appeals to me.  To take it to the next level, perhaps instead of e-receipts we can start to issue receipts on edible paper.  Thermal printers can provide just the right amount of heat to cook them. via Vsauce2

Screenshot_2013-01-19_12_01_PM3D Cases – The 3D printing craze continues to pick up steam.  In case you needed some prodding to get out there and get yourself a Nokia Lumix Windows 8 Phone, Nokia recently released files to allow users to print their own 3D case.  Nokia is the first major corporation I’ve noted to put out a part you can print on your own.  Expect this to be the first of many such offers.

Traditional retailers could look on this as a way to extend their shelf space by offering products with exclusive links to download files to personalize, modify or extend products sold in stores.

Haven’t we all purchased electronics and immediately discarded items we know we will never use?  Manufacturers could use the availability of online 3D printing files to reduce waste and cost on included items that not all purchasers may wish obtain.

Got your own 3D printer yet?  Soon. via Wired.

2013.01 | 3D Parts, Sail, SilverCar

teenage engineering3D Parts Printing – As 3D printing becomes increasingly mainstream, we can expect to see more companies taking advantage of that to differentiate themselves.  Swedish Synth Company Teenage Engineering allows customers to print their own parts from CAD files on their website.  This is a wonderful use of the technology and while keeping clients happy, allows TE to spend their time on their next product instead of fulfilling low profit, manual, but very important requests for small replacement bits for currently installed product.  I would love to see more of this!

Capture2Sail is Done – Verifone Sail is discontinued already.  Released last year as a dongle for smartphones to be used as part of a service to accept payments aimed at smaller retailers, Verifone are apparently backing away from Verifone Sail as they say the segment is not viable in the long term, though the website is still up at present.  Curious challenge since this segment is the entire business model for Square, though their partnership with Starbucks provides an out for them to other business models.

unnamedSilverCar – SilverCar is a car rental service offering one kind of car – Silver Audi A4s.  That’s it.  Clients use the website or mobile app to book their reservation.  Clients build a profile that includes not only the usual information like dates and times for rental, but addresses that they plan to visit, and even their favourite radio stations.  When clients get to the airport, they enter in their information on their mobile and their car unlocks with all of their information uploaded to the vehicle.  On return, instead of dealing with a mobile wielding attendant, the app automatically charts out all of the costs and passes the receipt electronically.  Looks like they are only operating in Dallas at present, but will be very interesting to see how they make this work.  It could change car rentals everywhere.

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