Waste Elimination – Check out The Disappearing Package – a Masters Thesis based on eliminating the packaging part of consumer packaged goods altogether. Not sure how realistic these are, but eliminating packaging is a welcome concept, and there are some interesting options shown. via Fast Company
Mobile Selling Across Platforms – There has been lots of talk about mobile retailing, but Gucci took it to heart and redesigned their mobile website to provide a unique experience suited to buying on a smartphone or tablet as well as a traditional pc or notebook. One can’t help but notice that Gucci chose to update their mobile website instead of an app. Given the increasing pile of mobile os ecosystems and flavours (iOS, Android, Windows) and devices (smartphones and tablets of various shapes and sizes), setting up a great website with mobile optimization seems the way to go.
Shelf Overlay – Augmented Reality is another concept that has been touted as a game changer for retail. IBM has a conceptual mobile app that allows users to use their mobile device’s camera to capture items on the shelf with image recognition and then allow shoppers to sort through the assortment based on various parameters as they would on a website. Customers could find gluten free items, or see what items are on sale. I love the concept, but I’m not sure if most people today will have the patience to search a store this way. If they do, everyone will be bumping into each other and trying to stand back from the shelves. It could get a bit awkward walking down the aisles!
Data elements are likely to be a challenge for this. If a retailer doesn’t have a fully populated database with all the elements needed to filter, a significant effort will be required to update systems on the back end to support this effort. Apparently it’s being tested in the UK. Some fun additions in my mind: highlight items from my shopping list on the shelf in green in case I can’t find them, highlight my usual items as I walk by them, put blinking green on items that may interest me, and finally integrate this into Google Glass to make it less awkward to use.
Loyalty Apps – I’ve always hated those little loyalty cards that you got stamped for a free coffee. My sushi place has a terrible version of this that you can’t even read. I also hate carrying paper cards and I’m not alone. Check out this recent blogto profile of a number of smaller loyalty programs that are trying to take this niche into the smartphone age.
Pinterest Analytics – Pinterest is one of the most interesting social media stories to come on the scene for some time, and it got a bit more interesting as their Web Analytics have been released. Now pinners including retailers, will have a better idea of what people are pinning. It’s unclear if that changes much for retailers that pin, but at least some gauge of reaction is possible. Perhaps the ability to tag whether an item was purchased would help. I’ve always thought Pinterest would be a great social media network for retailers to add to a client profile. When I visit higher end retailers or am looking for something fashion related, staff always ask about my hobbies and style. It would be nice to just let them glance through a few Pinterest boards to give them a flavour for what you like. Not only that, but the retailer sees what you like at other retailers.