Greatest InfoGraphic Ever!

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Greatest InfoGraphic Ever!

I'm fascinated by infographics. Everything about them. Well, here's the ultimate infographic ... about infographics.  Best to view it on a laptop. You'll soon see why.

What is it that makes them magical? It's all here. Not just stats about visual processing speeds and how we all suffer from information overload.  But this specific infographic uses Parallax scrolling, so it's even more engaging than most. 

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Wayfair CEO predicts 1/3 of all retail sales will be online

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Wayfair CEO predicts 1/3 of all retail sales will be online

Currently, online sales hover around 7% of the total. But with 73 million millennials taking over the coveted 20-40 year-old spending space, it's quite possible that he'll be right. 

Consider, too, that millenials are 250% more likely than baby boomers to shop online.

"Shopping can be both fun and fast," writes Niraj Shah -- WayFair CEO. "Driving several miles to a big-box store in hopes that they might have just what you are looking for is neither." 

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Best of Show: PERCH and AML

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Best of Show: PERCH and AML

Last week, I walked the CET Show in NYC. Stands for "Customer Engagement Technology".  Think kiosks, mobile payment, iPad docks. Digital Signage. There I spied a pretty elegant technology called PERCH that redefines interactive displays ...

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iBeacons: Some early results are in

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iBeacons: Some early results are in

I recently read that half of the top 100 retailers are currently testing iBeacons. Wow. Even if the number is an exaggeration, it confirms that reaching shoppers this way is being taken very seriously.

Two retail innovators, Macy's and American Eagle Outfitters, teamed up with Shopkick for a pair of in-store tests. Here's what I've uncovered ...

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OUR SMART FITTING ROOM GETS COVERED BY FORTUNE

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OUR SMART FITTING ROOM GETS COVERED BY FORTUNE

This week, Fortune magazine has a great piece on the Smart Fitting Room test currently going on at Bloomingdale's. It's a project we had a very heavy hand in all way the up through install. While at Kokley, we pulled together the team and technology to create the entire experience. Kudos to Mobispoke for the app development work and integration. And to our hardware partners, Padloc and Honeywell.

Click on View Post for more insights into the pilot test.

Click here to read the Fortune Magazine article.

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Happy 45th Birthday, Internet

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Happy 45th Birthday, Internet

On this day ... October 29th ... the first email message was sent via what was then known as "Arpanet."  Good trivia question: What was in that email?

"lo"

And where was it sent from?

Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Arpanet, a linked network of computers created by the Advanced Research Projects Agency for the US Department of Defense, was one of the first networks to use “packet switching”, a system that allowed several machines to communicate over a single circuit, instead of having a dedicated link between two computers.

At 10:30pm on 29 October, this was demonstrated by sending a message from UCLA in Los Angeles to SRI in San Francisco. The message was meant to be “login”, but a system crash after two letters meant that it was, in fact, “lo”. The full five-letter message was successfully sent an hour or so later.

 

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Why Shoppers Are Leaving Stores Empty Handed

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Why Shoppers Are Leaving Stores Empty Handed

Consumers are walking into retail stores expecting to get fast, smart guidance while they shop. And yet, they fail to get the answers they need, according to a new survey by TimeTrade. In fact, of the consumers who don't know exactly what to purchase, 93 percent say they can't find the right person to help them.

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How Samsung sees the future of interactive retail

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How Samsung sees the future of interactive retail

Samsung is betting big on interactive retail. I'm sure they'll dazzle us in January at NRF. But for those who can't wait ... here's a preview of what they've got up their sleeves.

This was produced for the Australian market, but is no less applicable here in the States.

They've certainly taken the omni-channel concept to heart.  From their dominating position in the smartphone space to their gazillion dollar supersized interactive touch screens, they pretty much have the span of devices and form factors covered better than anyone. They've even got mobile print options for in-store as well as back-of-house.

I know January is just around the corner. But if you're like me ... you always browsing for what's new. This brochure is worth a quick read.  If you know of other vendors and materials worth sharing with others ... send them my way.

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Apple Pay Has Arrived

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Apple Pay Has Arrived

Large tech and telecom companies like Google, Verizon and AT&T have tried for years to replace the traditional wallet with smartphone apps, having a click here or swipe there replace a credit card or dollar bills at the register. But commerce experts say they believe that the involvement of Apple, which helped revolutionize the mobile industry, could be the impetus that moves mainstream consumers to digital payments — the latest in an evolution of the way people buy goods and services.

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Your in-store omnichannel has to deliver...or else

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Your in-store omnichannel has to deliver...or else

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According to this article by multichannel merchant, customers are receptive to in-store conveniences like in-store pickup for online purchases, so long as it is totally glitch free. If it's not, you're probably better off not doing anything at all.

In the case of in-store pickup, a retailer has a 15 minute window to satisfy the customer. Anything longer than that and the customer experience nosedives extremely quickly.

This puts bricks and mortar at a slight disadvantage, as these services are so far unprecedented, and there will always be a learning period for retailers and the vendors that sell these solutions. This is why you should allow plenty of time to test, like we do with our smart-stand

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Black Friday is On Notice

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Looks like Black Friday was not quite what the retail industry had hoped. The average Black Friday shopper is spending less than they did last year, leading to the weakest Black Friday since 2009.

Our thought: single-event-shopping is not something the New Shopper is interested in. New numbers show Black Friday shoppers use technology less than the norm, and almost half still rely on print media to find deals. 

These are the remnants of the old guard of shoppers. Black Friday is a tradition in many families. Stores will still cater to these individuals, but look for them to be less and less prevalent. 

The convenience of online shopping increases the amount of motivation it takes to get a shopper out the door. News flash to the industry: The day after Thanksgiving, though usually a holiday for non-retail employees, is super inconvenient. Coupled with sensational stories of shoppers getting trampled, killed or assaulted, the experience cannot necessarily be dictated by the store as there are so many external factors.

Look for omnichannel retailers to succeed and catcch up in the coming weeks, when the new smart shoppers have done their research and come out shopping.

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Selling with Stories: How In-Store Storytelling Can Help Retailers Differentiate and Capture New Customers

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Our culture has an obsession with stories. The average person consumes 34 hours of live TV per week, plus more than 6 hours of pre-recorded television. Essentially, every American occupies a full time job absorbing stories. This does not include the four hours per day, on average, that we spend on the internet. This also does not include time spent with books. This is a big deal.

In the real world, we are a storytelling culture. Why should the retail culture be any different? Stories elevate. Stories differentiate. Stories sell products. Why aren’t we telling more stories?

Well the short answer is that, for the longest time, retail wasn’t able to tell stories in an interesting or cost-effective way. There were some efforts. Personal shoppers told consumers the story about how they are somehow elevated from the average shopper, with products that complement them specifically. Coupons and sales create stories of urgency, making shoppers think themselves particularly savvy or thrifty compared with their peers. Commercials help, because they’re sandwiched in between bits of narrative. Print media helps, again because it’s squished between attractive bits of story.

For the most part, however, the retail experience remains story-and-context-less. Products are put on display, maybe with some static signage to up the emotional umph of the products. The customer selects the products they like, if they can find them. They ask questions, if they need to. Then they purchase those products, or not, and that’s the end of it.

The problem is, for the most part people can do all of that online now. That old story isn’t going to cut it anymore. We need to make some changes. We need to engage people’s love of stories in-store, in the presence of all these products. Retailers need to create new narratives, and there’s a huge assortment of new tools that they can use to do it.

Let’s look at a huge success: Jewelry commercials. In your typical jewelry spot, you get a 30 second love story that evokes strong feelings and then attaches them to a ring. What if you can show something akin to that commercial in-store, right above those rings? Better yet, what if you can help a couple create their own story and let take some mock engagement photos using an app that they can only use in your store? The technology is there. You bet that if you engage them with that story, or if you even remind them of their own story, whether they participate or not, you are going to see better numbers. The genesis of the story doesn’t matter; it just has to happen when you have the consumer’s attention.  

Retailers can use motion, touch, and the new level of interactivity technology provides to leverage more stories into their in-store experiences. More stories equal more sales. Stories equal the next level of differentiation from competitors. Start telling stories.

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The New Retail Environment is Already Here

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Back in August, Forbes ran a story detailing AT&T’s omnichannel change-up: their elimination of cash registers in lieu of tablet-based POS to all employees, a store culture centered around education and engagement, a side-by-side “personalized” experience. A seamless integration of technology and presence. The title of this article: “Is This the Future of Retail? AT&T Thinks So

Hang on a minute. We need to stop talking about the future of retail like it hasn’t happened yet.

This is the present of retail. The future is upon us. Customers already expect this. 51% of retailers polled by RSR Research says customer demand for cross-channel experiences outpaces their ability to deliver them. We expect the actual percentage is much higher than that. With the Millennials finally aging into some substantial purchasing power, the Boomers becoming more and more techno-savvy, and with more than 84% of retail customers participating in social media, your New Customer is going to demand omnichannel engagement, both inside and outside of your store.

Let’s look closely at these demands:

Things should be easy to find

The New Customer wants to be able to find the product they want, they want to ask questions about it from an educated salesperson, and they want other people’s advice about it. As the first real internet generation, these folk are information addicts. A new study shows that 97% of all consumers use some form of online media, with an average of 7.9 different sources of information for local shopping. With this information available nearly instantly at home, their tolerance for not being able to find prices, deals, reviews, comparisons, and capable help in-store is going to be lower than ever.

They want you to know them

The New Customer wants to be engaged with on a personal level. Take Amazon for example. More than 35% of all sales on the retail giant’s website come from personal recommendations made by the site’s own algorithms. They want to be targeted for deals and promotions based on the information they put out into the world. Retailers that are good at tracking and manipulating the data that the New Customer freely gives out is going to win.

They want to play

The New Customer is used to technology. They grew up with it, they live it and breathe it, but they are still fascinated by it. Stores that integrate touchable, working, impressive technology into their stores are outperforming those that don’t.

Build a Bear, a retailer that allows customers to design and build their own teddy bear, saw their sales shoot up more than 30% when they installed touch-screen displays that allowed customers to design their bears on-screen, even though the same customers could have a similar experience off-screen.

Retailers that play to these wants and expectations have a huge edge in differentiating themselves from their competition. Expect to see huge shifts in omnichannel engagement attempts this holiday retail season. Our prediction: the in-store experience is king. Whoever wins there will win the holiday.

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Introducing the SmartStand

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Introducing the SmartStand

We've recently revealed our newest product, the SmartStand. SmartStand is an in-store, interactive touch display featuring top-and-bottom illuminated signage and a 21 inch HD Android tablet.  

Check out the SmartStand here.

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Apple Making Omni-Channel Play.

Apple has hired Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to head their retail department for both online and offline sales. See the article here.

We're a big fan of anything Apple does. The fact that they believe that their online and offline are linked enough to have one person head up both, and a brand-conscious fashion CEO at that, should be an indication to the rest of the retail industry that omni-channel has arrived in a big way.

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Widespread in-store mobile testing, with adoption to follow.

Yet another recent study supports the storm of mobile devices rolling-in to take over the in-store experience. Using supportive data from Motorola’s Mobile POS study, Retail Touch Point’s Alicia Fiorletta goes into detail on the subject, but the following excerpt summarizes it fairly well: 

“…most are deploying smartphones and tablets to complete coverage on the floor (31.3%), aid in line-busting (23.5%) and provide mobile device-based loyalty programs (18.7%).”

Read the full article here.

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In-store apps, not in-store mobile apps...I say!

There is a battle in stores across the country and the connection between in-store retail and online retail is getting blurry.

Last year, many major brands like Best Buy deployed in-store mobile apps to combat the likes of RedLaser, ShopSavvy and Google Shopper who encourage you to shop in brick and mortar, but get the best “deal” online. These in-store mobile apps are available in the Apple App Store and Android Market. They help you with a number of tasks like guiding through the store and special offers. Apple, as they often do, deployed somethinbg smarter for mobile self-checkout (see video). But there is a missing variable for most and it is painful to see major retailers spend so much money on in-store mobile apps that run on the customer's mobile device.

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It comes down to control. If the app is available in a public market and runs on the shopper’s device, they are in control. If the app is deployed via a private app catalogue, like Apperian’s EASE, on the store’s devices, then they have control.

Control is a good thing. It provides the ability to deliver accurate, helpful information allowing shoppers to make confident purchases. But how does the store supply the device?

In 2012, you will see iPads popping-up all over the country in stores. They will assist you with making smart purchases, ensuring you have everything necessary, finding the perfect match for your needs and much more. Major retailers are working hard to provide a better shopping experience and in-store iPad solutions, like those offered from Kokley, are making it possible. 

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