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.


2009.35 | Consumer Information Simplified

Innovation continues unchecked in the world of consumer facing organizations and applications, particularly in the world of information availability.

Comparison Shopping Invisible Hand is a Firefox add-on named for Adam Smith’s description of the free market benefit in his publication The Wealth of Nations. The add-on automatically looks up other vendors for whatever product you may be have on your browser and provides a pop-up to allow the user to go directly to that page, or look at other retailers’ prices. Yet another example of the potential of perfect information – great for consumers – tough for retailers.helpaugmentedreality234234

Augmented Reality – If you needed another reason to get an iPhone 3GS beyond Apple fanboy status, this one is quite flashy. Yelp! is a service locator that allows one to look up restaurants and other services based on a geographic location. When you open the yelp! iPhone application and search on a service – like pizza for example – it puts flags on a map, and if you tap the flags it opens up small boxes that indicate the name and rating of pizzerias on the map. It also has a killer undocumented feature. If you open the application and shake the phone, a button that reads Monocle appears in the top corner. The map in the screen is now replaced by the live image from the phone camera lens. Based on where the camera is pointed, at a local pizzeria for example, that same small box with the name and rating of the pizzeria comes up as an overlay on the image. Expect reviews on systems like this to gain ever increasing importance to consumer facing organizations as these sorts of applications become widely available.

Simplified Access Air Canada has released an iPhone app, and it is a worthwhile download. One argument against obtaining a boarding pass on the mobile is the challenge of entering a great deal of text – be it login, password, frequent flyer number. Now this can be stored on the phone via the application for simpler access to boarding passes as well as schedule information and personal travel info.

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