Displair – All sorts of new user interfaces are being developed and that novelty often finds its way into retail – even if just as a way of garnering people’s attention for the short term. Displair is a good example. Some enterprising souls have built a solution that makes a touchscreen out of thin air. Video is projected on mist shot into the air. Sensors catch where the mist is broken to enable touchscreen capability. While a novelty for now these sort of projected touch interfaces are a prime solution for changerooms or other areas where technology could help but there is limited or constantly changing space.
Louis Vuitton Pass – 2D barcodes have always seemed like a jury-rigged solution. Originally invented to track inventory, they can hold a lot more data than the traditional barcode, but retain an ugliness that fashion (and really everyone) disdains. Expect to see more solutions like the one leveraged by the likes of the Louis Vuitton Pass App. Instead of scanning unseemly 2D barcodes, pointing your mobile’s camera at an ad can open a link with product information. This technology is not that new, but consider the potential of it being built into mobile apps the same way that shazam is used to recognize music, tv and movies. If it becomes more common, image searches for the right products become that much easier.
Rough Trade NYC – Much has been made of the death of retail and of the record store (music for the youngsters) in particular. Showing that retail is about the experience, and that music stores can survive in the world of iTunes, Rough Trade recently opened an outlet in NYC . Rough Trade has been around in the UK for decades, so they are doing something right. The new store in Brooklyn is broken into boutiques: a traditional CD and Vinyl Record sales floor, a curated instrument showroom, an audio equipment area, and a bookstore. They offer a unique curation of music that seems a bit different from the iTunes crowd and have digital downloads subscriptions as well. The piece that really pulls it together is a a 250 seat venue with a full bar that appears to be fully booked for shows. It will be interesting to see if providing unique offerings, concerts, and providing a venue for a community will be enough to make a go of it. Considering that digital downloads declined for the first time since iTunes opened, this subset of retail is really up in the air yet again, and this is as good an idea as any to pull in the music crowd.