Internet of Things — 2015 and It’s All Happening…
If you ever loved the movie Almost Famous, you will certainly remember when the lovely Penny Lane (beautiful, young Kate Hudson) gets that gleam in her eye and proclaims, “It’s all happening.” Well, I must say, I am feeling that same sense of glee and excitement watching as the retail world becomes a tangible product of the smart/connected world, also known as the Internet of Everything or Internet of Things. And the glee I feel is mostly because the doors are opening (after sensors read your NFC chip of course) for the pro AV industry to jump in and have some fun!
In late 2014, two stores by designer Rebecca Minkoff opened in New York and San Francisco. I had a great laugh over the the headlines mostly referring to “giant touch screens” as being the technology of interest. But the technology in play at these retail outlets is so far advanced, it’s really no surprise the journalists were a little stumped at how to encapsulate the experience in a handy headline. From the use of a PayPal app to SMS messaging to a 122” touch screen where shoppers choose the clothes they will try on, this is a fully integrated experience for the modern shopper. And this touch screen is no dummy. It incorporates infrared sensors that assess whether the customer is fully engaged with the shopping wall, or merely… window shopping — of a different type. Then, once in the fitting room, antenna in the light fixture reads RFID tags in merchandise. Images then appear on the touch screen mirror. The final step is offering other items that the client might want to try related to these items in the room. Oh — and you ladies will love this — the lighting can be adjusted in the fitting room to settings such as Brooklyn Sunrise (trust me guys, fitting room lighting is a major pain point for many shoppers).
Between online offerings and in-store merchandise, the shopping experience becomes seamless. And obviously there is a whole lot of interactive display involved in this experience. As the New York Times dubbed it, “Interface-to-face” is the new means of grabbing a buyer’s attention.
So how do you plan to accommodate this new shopper? If you haven’t heard of the word “omnichannel,” now would be a great time to learn. The latest buzz in the marketing world is about the “omnichannel” buyer. This is a smart buyer of goods and services who uses a combination of mobile apps and in-person shopping to find what they need and want. They don’t accept communication or content designed for the masses and they want a quick and easy process no matter what they are doing.
Now is the time to employ your best Jetson daydreams. Think about how our technology is integral to making all of this work. Take the time to learn about trends in retail of all types — from car buying to clothing, the experience is rapidly going to change. Where do smart phones and wearables fit in? Can our giant screens become as fun and interactive as the tiny one on the teenager’s wrist? It’s time to have some fun and unleash your golden god (if that didn’t make you smile, get off this site and go watch Almost Famous… that’s an order!).