Apr 22, 2011

Pervasive Retail Part I: Web UX Meets Retail CX - Screens Large and Small at the Mall, Revisited

If you follow my blog(s), you know that I have a passion for interactive displays in public spaces, and that I enjoy watching how various technologies converge, jump across platforms and devices, inter-operate, and re-purpose over time.  

The best places for watching this unfold, in my opinion, are airports, malls, shopping districts,  and larger "big box" establishments, where the Web meets Digital Out of Home (DOOH), old-fashioned kiosks morph into multi-touch screens and gesture-based windows, and visual merchandising meets technology, digital culture, architecture, and consumer metrics At the center of it all is the user/consumer - regular people, moms, dads, kids, teens, the elderly, the disabled, the hurried and the worried. Adding to the complexity is that an increasing number of people who are out-and-about are tethered to various mobile devices.

In scholarly tech circles, the concept of DOOH is known "Pervasive Retail".  The explosion of mobile devices and ubiquitous screens has fueled the fire for research, and is the focus of the current issue of IEEE's Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing.   

Despite the influx of technology, no-one is exactly sure how to do it quite right.  (I have some ideas, which I'll save for a future post.)

If you are interested in learning more about concepts related to "pervasive retail", the Retail Customer Experience website is a treasure trove of information related to DOOH, digital signage, multi-channel retailing, in-store media, kiosks, interactive touch screens and windows, related metrics, and more, with stories about real-life technology implementation.

Mall Video
The following video, taken with my handy HTC Incredible, provides a quick sampling of the screens I encountered during a recent visit to South Park Mall, in Charlotte, N.C.  The last screens in the clip were taken in the Brookstone store, and will be included in another clip that focuses solely on all of the screens that were scattered about the retail space.  

I have a hunch that some of the smaller displays in the Brookstone store were iPads.  iPads and tablets have great potential for use for shelf-level in-store interactive visual merchandising deployments, given the right apps and mounting systems. (See iPads as Cheap Digital Signage, by Tony Hymes of DOOHSocial and the video about Premier's iPad mounts, for more information.)

Much of what you'll see in the following video, taken at the same mall in December of 2009, wasn't around during my most recent trip:
Screens Large and Small at the Mall

Interactive Coke Machine and Kid at the Mall

I was sad to see that the interactive screen on the Coke machine  had been replaced by an ordinary one.  Part of the problem, I think, is that the interactive display was too busy and as a consequence, made the goal getting a quick drink a bit too complicated for the average thirsty customer, as seen in the video below:

Touch Screen Coke Machine at the Mall: 90 seconds to get a coke!


Previous Posts:

References and Resources (Partial List)
Ron Brunt, InTouch with Retailing Whitepaper, 1/15/06
Brian Monahan, IPG Emerging Media Blog, 4/15/11
When all the world is a screen (The video is worth taking the time to watch.)
Narayanswami, C.,  Kruger, A.,  Marmasse, N. Pervasive Retail, IEEE Pervasive Computing
April-June 2011 (Vol. 10, No. 2) pp. 16-18 1536-1268/11/$26.00 © 2011 IEEE 
References from the Pervasive Retail article:
Mobile Retail Blueprint, Nat'l Retail Federation; www.nrf.commodules.php?name=Pages&op=viewlive&sp_id=1268 .
G. Belkin, Pervasive Retail Business Intelligence, Aberdeen Group, Apr. 2010; www.slideshare.net/AxiomConsultingAustralia pervasive-retail-business-intelligence .
R. Wasinger, A. Kr├╝ger, and O. Jacobs, "Integrating Intra and Extra Gestures into a Mobile and Multimodal Shopping Assistant,"Proc. 3rd Int'l Conf. Pervasive Computing (Pervasive), Springer, 2005, pp. 297–314.
A. Meschtscherjakov et al., "Enhanced Shopping: A Dynamic Map in a Retail Store," Proc. 10th Int'l Conf. Ubiquitous Computing(UbiComp 08), ACM Press, 2008, pp. 336–339.
C. Stahl and J. Haupert, "Taking Location Modelling to New Levels: A Map Modelling Toolkit for Intelligent Environments," Proc. Int'l Workshop Location- and Context-Awareness (LoCA), LNCS 3987, Springer, 2006, pp. 74–85.

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