1. Revolutionizing the In-Store Shopping Experience: Neiman Marcus and IBM
Figuring out ways to improve a consumer’s retail experience through technology is top of mind for many retailers. Two organizations have developed innovative ways to improve the experience with data: Neiman Marcus’ mobile app and IBM’s augmented reality shopping experience.
- IBM: IBM’s augmented reality shopping app allows users to create a list for a meal prior to visiting the store and then allows the user to scan shelves with their phone. The mobile app recognizes the products on the shelves using image recognition technology and displays allergen, discount, and recommendation information on their mobile device. Users can also enter in dietary restrictions, religious dietary preferences, and link to their in-store loyalty card. IBM is currently testing the app with an undisclosed major retailer.
- Neiman Marcus: This mobile app built by Signature complements the in-store Neiman Marcus experience by connecting shoppers to sales associates when they enter the store. The consumer interface allows shoppers to browse promotions, favorite items, see events, scan QR codes in-store, and check-in at the store. The sales associate interface delivers a Facebook photo when a preferred shopper arrives and shows the purchase and favorite history of the user. This information provides the sales associate with a better understanding of the shopper’s likes and dislikes. The centralization, use, and delivery of data in this way thus offers a distinct competitive advantage.
The Walla.by card stores all your credit card information in one digital wallet card. When you make a purchase, the system is able to select the card that provides the most savings and/or discounts for the item. This type of combination makes it easier for users, as their information is automatically filtered and processed. This method is an intermediate step before your wallet is entirely digital, and likely linked to your mobile phone.
3. Researchers Turn A Bubble Into a Transparent Screen
Soon we will be able to turn any surface into an interactive screen. Researchers at the University of Tokyo have created a flexible, thin screen on the surface of a bubble. This technology uses a micro membrane surface controlled by ultrasonic waves. By using multiple displays, a user can create 3D projections and holographic images as well. For background on how this works, watch the video below:
4. Renault Tells an Interactive Facebook Story
This interactive Facebook campaign revolved around Grandma Hilda, a personality who was too old to drive her Renault 4. She decided to give away the car, but had misplaced her keys. Through a Facebook app, users were asked to play “hide-and-seek” inside her interactive home and tag where they believed she had left her keys. The user who came the closest to tagging the actual location of the keys won the Renault 4. Receiving 10,293 unique tags from the campaign, Renault doubled their Facebook fans, increasing the number by 27,930. This campaign shows how a strategic story can engage users through social media. What story are you telling?
5. Apple Drops NFC from iOS 5
Speculation abounds about NFC: Will it be easy for users? How can retailers adopt the technology to implement it? These concerns, along with the additional battery needed to power the technology, caused Apple to drop NFC from iOS 5. Instead, they will be using an alternative method to compete with Google Wallet, such as integrating pre-existing payment services (like Walla.by above) or using the credit cards already on file through iTunes.
6. Samsung Creates Augmented Reality Experience for the 2012 London Olympics
Take Part 2012 is an augmented reality mobile gaming app that allows users to compete in Olympic events for their own country. Currently available only on Android, users can run a spring, participate in an archery event, and take 360-degree tours of the London 2012 event locations.
7. QR Codes with Your Genes Could Be Used to Prescribe Drugs
Medical researchers are exploring how QR codes can be used to write more accurate prescriptions. In the near future, QR codes could be included on our insurance cards with information about our genetic code. These details would allow doctors to predict complications or make (extremely) personalized recommendations for treatment.