Cellphones at Retail

I’ve been reporting on ideas relating to augmented reality and the interactive shopping experience ever since seeing a TED presentation last year. And the issue even made The Unseen’s Top 10 list of stories for 2009.

Tap on the augmented reality tag and you can call up all of the posts.

There was an interesting piece in NY Times on Friday mentioning several innovations that were new to me. Here is the link to Stephanie Rosenbloom’s piece.

The capability that intrigues me most is an IBM product called Presence. As the article notes,

“Shoppers who sign up can be detected as soon as they set foot in a store. That enables Presence to offer real-time mobile coupons. And tracking shoppers’ spending habits and browsing time in various departments can help the system figure out who might be moved to suddenly buy a discounted item.

Presence can also make product recommendations. If a shopper was buying cake mix, Presence might suggest buying the store’s private-label frosting and sprinkles, too.”

It would appear, as I suspected, that this will be the year when the interactive capabilities available to shoppers will begin to explode. But this will not be a no-risk opportunity for either shoppers or retailers.

For shoppers of course the risk is loss of privacy. For the bricks and mortar retailers, the risk is that the greater competition, and choice, brought by this instant access to information on mobile devices, will lead the consumer to other retailers or online for their purchases.

Nonetheless it appears that most retailers are very excited. As Norma Kamali says,

“To say that I’m excited is putting it mildly. I’ve been in this business since the ’60s and I have to just tell you, nothing — nothing at all — has been as powerful a change in the psyche of the way we do everything as this technology.”

I guess we’ll see, and soon.

The image above is by Michael Falco for The New York Times


About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
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3 Responses to Cellphones at Retail

  1. Dennis says:

    I came across this example of AR us at the point of sale.:


    Although it uses the technology in a different way, I think this is a great way for the brand to engage its customers through its package!

  2. Thanks Dennis,
    This is an amazing use of the technology, and really begins to hint at the packaging applications of AR.

  3. Pingback: Colorado brews up tradition and technology « The Package Unseen

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