Warby Parker is opening up its first full-fledged store (beyond its showrooms) and is using sensors, Wi-Fi and other technology to understand how people use their retail space, and take that data and marry it with their online sales trends.
But this isn’t just another retail store, co-founder Neil Blumenthal told me [Om Malik] in a conversation a couple of weeks ago. Instead, the company is using sensors, Wi-Fi and other new technologies to understand how people use its retail space, taking that data and marrying it with its online sales trends and other information. As a result it can come up with unique business trends that not only lead to more interesting pricing models but also help give its design and sales teams vital intelligence.
The Internet of Things is developing and buzzing all around us. Throughout the week we come across innovative projects, brilliant articles and posts that support and feature the innovators and companies that make our business possible. Here’s our list of favorites from this week’s journey on the Web.
Do you have a link to share? Please tell us in the comments below or Tweet us, @XBeeWireless — we would love to share your findings too. You can also follow all of the commentary and discussion with the hashtag #FridayFavorites.
Black Friday is only a couple of days away. With all of the talk about shopping, we couldn’t help but think of the Internet of Things and its impact on retail experiences. Here are 5 ways your shopping experience could or may have already changed as the Internet of Things evolves.
On Demand Information
One of our favorite XBee projects, the TeamLab Hanger, demonstrates how the Internet of Things can offer an on demand information to shoppers while they’re making purchase decisions. This interactive hanger is used as a platform for the fashion industry. As a customer picks up a piece from the clothing rack, a television screen displays the piece on a runway providing a visual experience and options for how the piece can be worn.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) & QR Codes
RFID technology allows automatic identification of objects with the help of a small electronic chip. The data stored on a RFID tag can be read by wireless devices. Retailers can use these tags to increase inventory accuracy and better meet customer expectations. While RFIDs are helpful to manufacturers, QR codes can be helpful to buyers. There are many mobile apps, like Consmr, which allow consumers to get inside information on products that isn’t readily available by examining the product on the shelf.
Products and Shelves that Care for Themselves
The Internet of Things can help manufacturers and store owners optimize efficiency by receiving automatic alerts when products need serviced or shelves need stocked. Anything from a vending machine jam to an empty endcap– devices can communicate when human action is needed.
Sensors can detect the store’s environment and affect it accordingly. This can help staff ensure that you’re getting the intended and usually carefully crafted experience. It can also give stakeholders real-time information on the store’s condition at any given point in time. Sensors can communicate and control the physical environment such as light, sound and temperature– they can even count people in the store to analyze foot traffic.
Data from machines paired with sales data can help businesses ensure a quality experience across multiple locations. As a simple example, take fast food. When visiting a fast food restaurant, we rely on a consistent experience. If the corporate division of a fast food franchise can see when a location needs to make a change based on local machine data, stakeholders have more control on quality and consistency without being physically present at store roof-tops.
Which technologies will prevail and reshape our retail experiences? Only time, and you, will tell. As Marc Weiser said, “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.” The next time you’re in a store, maybe in the early hours of the morning this Friday, ask yourself if the Internet of Things has changed your shopping experience without you noticing.
Do you know of a great Internet of Things innovation you’d like us to talk about? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter.