The model whispering in the consumer’s ear
While many experts have so far talked a lot about the iBeacon and have observed some installations in the retail sector like Safeway, there is one sector where it was not expected to appear so soon, namely fashion, and more particularly on shop window dummies. You will recall that the iBeacon is an exchange protocol provided by the Apple development kit that enables an iPhone application to detect a BLE terminal (Bluetooth Low Energy or Smart Bluetooth). This protocol offers (mainly on OS7) the following functions:
– activation of the application at the store entrance,
– the content Push sector close to certain products,
– contextualization of the application according to the user’s location in the store.
Iconeme, a technology and design company based in London has launched a product called “VM Beacon”. This solution enables shop window dummies to transmit contextualized information to the smartphones of consumers nearby.
A “VM Beacon” device is fitted directly in each dummy. It transmits information programmed by the retailer. When a customer who has the sales outlet’s application on her smartphone is very close to the “VM Beacon”, she receives an automatic alert about the content – such as details of the clothes, the related accessories and its exact location in the store. This information also includes the price, links to purchase the items on the retailer’s web site, or their location in the store or even in the window display. The latter can be a strategic location for people who don’t have time to enter the store, or on public holidays (Sunday), thereby enabling them to get the key information.
In exchange, retailers can access analytical reports that include the customers’ demographic details (age and gender), their location and the outfit they viewed. They can also check the customer’s online shopping history.
In 2012, Italian company Almax, specialized in shop window dummies, launched a technology called EyeSee. This records facial features using cameras fitted in the dummy’s eyes to determine the customer’s age and gender. These details help the retailer’s marketing department better target a particular clientele. This solution offers more criteria to fine-tune merchandising at a retail outlet.
The era of connected objects in retail is only just beginning…