2014.09 | worn on tv | beacon sunglasses | emoji search

As Seen on TV

Worn on TV – Showing that alternate channels and affiliate sales continue to expand as alternative sales opportunities for retailers, Worn on TV lists clothing and accessories that are showcased on television shows.   Visitors to the site can search by show, by episode and even by character.  It is not evident how the site is validating the clothing shown – whether it comes from the network, the service or is crowdsourced; but it’s a novel idea, and you have to expect that they are capturing some revenue by sending traffic to the retailer’s eCommerce sites.

From a retailer perspective, a site like this represents a tremendous opportunity to sell fashions in an understated manner without relying on commercials that are being avoided via DVR by most people anyway.  Retailers would be wise to track how many hits they are getting from the sites, and even by show to understand where their clients are coming from so that they can best showcase their fashions on the shows driving the traffic.  Making this data actionable, sales staff enabled with tablets and access to this site could potentially drive more product by understanding clients taste and leveraging the publicity from the show as shopper profiles are connected.

tzukuriBeacon Sunglasses – While those of us in retail technology are focused on using beacons for unique retail experiences, Tzukuri are putting iBeacons directly into their sunglasses.  Much like many card based bluetooth tools that will tell you when you leave your wallet behind by sending an alert to your mobile, these specs will send a notification from a built-in solar powered beacon to your iPhone via iBeacon when you get more than 16 feet from them.  An app can then later tell you where your iPhone was last in contact with them so you can return and pick them up.

Leveraging beacons in sunglasses is a novel and practical idea; who hasn’t left sunglasses behind at some point.  Stepping beyond the ability to locate lost frames, with beacons built into the glasses and central profiles kept on clients, retailers could now even leverage the beacons on the sunglasses to identify shoppers who come into their store – even if they don’t have their mobile device. To take advantage of these sales and customer service opportunities, retailers will need to be nimble in building out the data fields required in upcoming versions of their client profiles and consider how to interface all of these identifiers to staff working at stores.

yelp emoji searchEmoji Search – Yelp recently updated their mobile app to allow searches by emoji. Instead of having to search for wine, for example, by typing the word wine, users of yelp can now type one character – the wine glass via the emoji keyboard on an iphone – to search on wine.  While searching via emoji seems a silly idea on the surface, it represents an understanding of a certain subset of users that use their app.  Emoji entry avoids the annoyance of typing on touchscreens or waiting for Siri to look.  It’s a fresh, simple idea, and drives users to approach the app with a different perspective.  It’s also another way of providing shoppers choice – a key function in today’s endless sea of options.


2011.40 | Impulse, Queueing, Entertainment & Apple Washing

Putting the impulse back into shopping – Loblaw in my local area experimented over the past number of months with no candy and magazine racking at the point of sale in some sites as part of a fixture refresh.  I personally liked the clean lines of the stores with this layout at Loblaw; no clutter, easy to see who is open for customers and which line is best.  It also gave a wide open feel at the front end of the store.  However, sales are more important than clean lines in most people’s books.  At my local store on Monday they re-installed racking with the magazines, gum and candy we all know so well.  Store staff indicated that magazines and candy just weren’t selling in  racks around the corner from the POS.

Single Queue – I’m seeing an increase of impulse fare in my area at other retailers, as some of them are moving towards a single queue.  Walmart escalated this queuing trend here in Canada, and others are also taking this approach.  Michael’s and the various banners of TJX including Winners, and Marshall’s (Style Sense was always this way), have moved to a single queue with a mini-maze of racks stocked with small impulse items on them to tempt you as you wait for a register to come available.    Some of the sites are also using simple queuing tools to indicate open tills to customers.  I am a fan of the approach, as the most equitable plan with flexibility for the site staff.  I no longer feel stiffed when a cashier takes a break and closes a lane when I’ve been waiting in that line.

Washroom Entertainment – In years past, visits to the washroom in restaurants was all business.  The most unusual item I ever experienced was Italian Language tapes over the sound system in the lavatories at some of my favourite Italian restaurants – entertaining and educational.  In a welcome effort to provide a unique experience to visitors, I’ve noticed more and more in the way of cute items in the washrooms of restaurants – funny posters, 2d barcode posters, TV’s over the urinals, ads on urinal pucks and increasingly digital signage.  While  in Montreal this week, I saw something that took that up a notch.  While visiting a very new and slick looking St Hubert Express, the washroom featured projected video of the top of a gravel pool of fish over the sink. While certainly not aimed at my amusement, I definitely see the benefits of this to drive the children to spend some extra time washing their hands.  It’s nice to see someone paying attention to the small details.  I do wonder about the long term viability of such a solution, but time will tell.

Washing Produce – I saw a great solution on line this week for produce.  Adhesive labels  for fruits and vegetables to provide PLU and GS1 Databar codes that turn to soap when they are wetted, so that there is no sticker waste from produce.  Instead, a useful anti-bacterial soap to ensure food safety.  Love the idea.  I expect the focus on apples is due to the fact that many other kinds of produce are often sprayed with water in the store for various reasons – dissolving the stickers in advance of purchase.

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