The Future of the Sales Floor
Technology has become as much a part of retail as price tags and general stores once were. In today’s world, price stickers are technology and general stores are globalized organizations spending full percentage points of revenue chasing the omni-channel dream.
But that technology investment isn’t all going to e-commerce. Larger and leading-edge retailers know they need to power up their in-store staffs and spaces to satisfy and keep the attention of empowered shoppers. Here’s a taste of the types of technology hitting their sales floors.
SCOTTeVEST Provides a Glimpse of the Future of PoP Display
SCOTTeVEST, the Ketchum, Idaho-based vendor or multipocket, gadget-friendly clothing for techies, travelers and outdoor enthusiasts, is giving a voice to the “silent salesperson,” along with video, intelligence and even fulfillment capabilities. The company’s revolutionary, new point of purchase display incorporates personalized video, live assistance and biometric scanning to create a guided shopping experience. It also brings to life the future of brand-customer interaction and gives retailers tools for competing with online giants.
At first glance, the PoP looks like a somewhat familiar garment rack, but when a customer approaches, it activates a video tailored to the specific store location that greets that customer. It then uses biometric scanners to estimate their correct size and guides them through the SCOTTeVEST catalog. Once the customer tries on a garment, they can scan the tag for a video rundown showcasing all the features. If the customer has questions, the PoP even will open a live video chat with a SCOTTeVEST customer service member.
Once a garment is selected, a QR code appears, which the customer scans to complete the purchase on their phone or through the kiosk via credit card or electronic payment methods. The product hanging on the rack is for display only, so retailers don’t have to worry about inventory. After the customer makes a purchase, SCOTTeVEST facilitates home delivery, but the retailer hosting the PoP gets a commission on the sale. Even if customers do not purchase a garment through the PoP, if they push “like” with the built-in Facebook beacon, it allows SeV to track the customer’s future purchases and lock in the commission for the retailer.
Conversely, all online promotions and discounts are automatically pushed to the PoP in each store, ensuring customers always get the lowest price available. And since none of the products on the PoP are designed to leave the store, each has an antitheft tag attached.
“This is truly the best of both worlds,” says Scott Jordan, SCOTTeVEST CEO and co-founder, “a hands-on truly awesome product experience plus online fulfillment – never lose a sale if an item is locally out of stock.”
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Toshiba Goes Ultra HD 4K for Surveillance
Toshiba introduced its first Ultra HD IP video surveillance camera, the IKS-WB9518, able to capture 4K video in 3840 x 2160 resolution at a rate of 25 frames per second. The Ultra HD resolution provides high level of detail to more effectively capture moving objects (i.e. license plates), monitor large parking areas and assist in collecting forensic evidence when a crime has occurred. Toshiba says its deployment can reduce the number of conventional HD cameras needed by nearly 50 percent due to its ability to cover very wide spaces.
“Adding four times the pixels into a video frame empowers security professionals to cover large areas as well as to zoom into the picture for amazing details without sacrificing quality, even at great distances,” said Greg Hartzell, director of Toshiba Surveillance IP Video Products.
The camera is compact for mounting in tight spaces, with the added advantage of PoE (802.3af) that eliminates the need to run power cables. It also integrates H.264 video compression to deal with 4K video’s large file sizes.
The North Face Expands VR Usage
The North Face’s recently opened retail store in Palo Alto, Calif., was the brand’s latest location to feature a virtual reality experience developed in a collaboration with Jaunt. Originally unveiled about a year ago in TNF’s Chicago flagship store, The North Face VR allows store visitors to step into a “completely immersive, 360-degree 3D video and audio experiences that places viewers right in the middle of iconic outdo r landscapes, such as Moab, Yosemite and Nepal.”
Captured with Jaunt’s 360-degree, stereoscopic 3D cameras and advanced 3D sound-field microphones, the content places viewers in the middle of the scenes with complete freedom to look around in any direction. Shoppers are virtually transported alongside The North Face athletes prepping rope, climbing and setting their plans for the day. Camp4 Collective, a group of athletes and filmmakers, worked on location with The North Face and Jaunt to produce the content. “For more than a decade I’ve used every type of media imaginable to share the iconic stories of The North Face expeditions yet have not seen anything that can transport people to some of the world’s most remote and inspirational environments like The North Face VR,” said Tim Kemple, Director at Camp 4 Collective, upon the original launch. “It’s impossible to put the headset on and not smile.”
Incidentally, the new TNF Palo Alto location also includes the pilot of a new, large digital window display featuring rich brand content.
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Welcome to Automated, Robotic Inventory Control
4D Retail Technology Corp recently unveiled its 4D Space Genius, a ground-breaking, patent-pending robotic imaging platform powered by Segway that can scan any store in less than an hour. As the robot travels down each aisle, it automatically compiles and processes huge amounts of big data, imaging every product and barcode in every aisle. Once completed, the Space Genius scan provides retailers and manufacturers with the precise location of everything in the store, as well as all instances of price tag discrepancy, missing price tags, empty shelving and more.
The Space Genius also provides retailers with an interactive 3D map of their store, precisely depicting each product exactly as it is displayed on the shelf. This realistic, virtual store can either be displayed on the company’s Web site for consumer use and shopping, or toured remotely by retail executives at HQ.
“With one click, customers can virtually navigate through any scanned store anywhere in the world and view products on the shelf exactly as they are,” said the company. “As shoppers tour the aisles, they can pull products off the shelf, spin them around to read more product information and add them to a shopping cart to be shipped or delivered by local courier.”
Included with the Space Genius is a 3D planogram application. “Unlike traditional methods of creating planograms, which are based primarily on static, theoretical inputs, the 4D Space Genius intelligently generates dynamic ‘realograms’ based on actual, scanned data,” says 4D.
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