2013.17 | cookies | kiosks | 51 co’s | eBay | purchext

Picture of Product as Tender – Weetabix in the UK recently had an offer where consumers can obtain a free Weetabix On The Go in a retail store by merely showing the cashier an image of the product.  And I thought retailers had fun with regular old coupons.  While it’s kinda fun, it seems somewhat pointless.  Effectively it’s the same as telling clients just to ask for a free sample – and that’s what will happen in stores as we all know.

Google ‘Kiosks’ – Google has announced a managed public sessions feature for chromebooks.  Google envisions this as a simple way to enable chromebooks as public internet kiosks for stores to offer customers a way to purchase things online that may not be in stock at the store or other ‘kiosk-type’ solutions.   As a retail technology professional I find these sorts of announcements interesting because it seems a bit like looking for a reason to have a feature.  It’s been possible to lock down kiosk terminals, notebooks, tablets, and even regular old pcs with kiosk mode on browsers or with special software packages for some time.  While a chromebook is a bit cheaper than a full fledged notebook, this kiosk feature seems a marginal benefit.

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51 Companies – Business Insider has an incredibly exhaustive list of 51 Retail Innovators that is a must read list for retailers. I’ve covered a number of the companies using technology for retail, but this a great list to provide some inspiration.  Some of my favourites: fab (curation), hointer (using your mobile for catalog like shopping in a store), and stylitics (track your wardrobe – think fashion only pinterest with what you have, not just what you want).

eBay Pop-up Store – eBay is apparently moving into real world retail as a part of a partnership with Kate Spade.  Unofficially, a pop-up Kate Spade store in NYC will be outfitted with a large touch screen window, presumably to allow purchases of items in the store.  eBay wish to provide a platform to assist real world retail sites to meld with the online.

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Purchext – A new Canadian app shown at Disrupt NYC 2013 provides parents the chance to remotely validate purchases of their children for release of funds to their bank account.   Interesting idea that I could see grocers considering within their own systems to ensure that family’s keep their purchases in the chain!  So much for the party run to the grocery store on dad’s card.

 

2012.37 | Shazam | Popup Mobile Shop | EasyPay

Shazam @ Hbc – Shazam started off as a service to link users to music they want to purchase by recognizing a tune on the radio.  They moved on to recognizing TV episodes.  Now they are mining commercial territory more directly by allowing tags to direct advertisement listeners to content on mobile devices.

Hbc’s iconic Bonnie Brooks spoken radio ads are now entering the canon of audio that the Shazam app will recognize.  While Bonnie’s dulcet tones ring through the radio waves, savvy mobile users can open the Shazam app and ‘touch to shazam’.  The audio in the radio spot will be tied to the advertisement for the special offer in question, opening a link to the Bay website with details of the offer.  I haven’t been able to catch the latest ads to confirm or deny that it works or shows usefulness. My biggest issue is that I usually listen to the radio in the car.  In the car is not the time to whip out the mobile and open an app.  Whether anyone does it or not, it’s a shrewd move by Hbc to get some potential airplay out of showing some willingness to think outside the box. (thanks, Mike B!)

Walmart Canada Popup Store – Walmart Canada is also thinking outside of the box in November; and outside the store completely.  With help from Mattel, Brandfire Marketing and IMA Outdoor, Walmart has set up a virtual popup shop in the Toronto underground for this month only.  Customers can use their mobile devices to scan tags on products in a display to add them to their shopping carts on the Walmart Canada eCommerce site and have them shipped home at no charge.  This is a clever and cost effective option to let technically inclined commuters with a grasp on mobile technology to get their Christmas shopping done while it’s fresh in their minds.  As with the example above it’s also a great way to get some play in the news. (thanks, Sandra!)

Self Scan @ Apple – Apple Canada recently updated their iOS app to enable Easypay for use at the Apple Store in Canada.  Available for some time in the US, Easypay allows customers to scan and pay for their purchases in store with their iPhones.  All the app shows at present is an ad that Easypay can be used in stores.  Try it next time you are in an apple store and tell me about it!

Based on past experience you will need to connect to the store wifi to be recognized and then shop away.  I’ve always had qualms about such a service, as it can be difficult for store staff to validate who is actually paying for something and who is not.  That said, providing complete channel neutrality and being open to change are terrific for retail in general.  The hard part is always sorting out the operational issues that arise. I look forward to seeing how it works out and who adopts such a scheme next!

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