Across the U.S. border in Canada, between March 5th and 6th, is the annual DX3 conference. And while the conference itself may not be something you’ve heard a great deal of hype about, there’s one experience on show that shows the potential capabilities of Apple’s iBeacons technology.
Mobile Innovation Store is a non-traditional booth to show what the next revolution in retail shopping could be. Using Beacons technology, coupled with an app developed by Thirdshelf, users will be able to walk in to the Mobile Innovation Store (pictured above) and select a predefined “persona” from a list of the following three:
- The Fashionista, who demands in-depth knowledge of numerous products.
- The Collector, who is looking for a deal and he’s not necessarily buying for himself.
- The Trendsetter, who needs to get products first and is willing to pay a premium in order to get it.
Using the personas, the shopping experience is customized around the user. Using Beacons, it knows where you are in the store, and can give you information on deals and options on products that it thinks you will like. Beacons also passively collects data on you, your identity and pass the information on to the technology built in to the store. Presumably, this is all securely held on your phone and not sent off anywhere else or seen by anyone else, otherwise security could be a big issue with this.
“The result is a dynamic mobile shopping experience that not only knows specifically who the customer is, but also which displays they are looking at. That means offers, products and even the displays themselves can be tailored to the customer. Not to mention check-out and receipts are easy as pie.”
The idea behind this is that when you compare how much brick and mortar stores know about you and can tailor your experience to online retail stores, the difference is staggering. Sites like Amazon can detect patterns in what you look at often, the kinds of things you buy, and find things that interest you. Retail stores – as they are – can’t.
“It’s the old-school customer experience. They knew your name, they knew your wife, they knew how many kids you have. They understood your preferences and would make informed, relevant recommendations. There was a real relationship between you and the retailer. That’s what we can go back to with technology.”
With this system, using iBeacons to detect where you are, what you’re looking at, and what kind of things you like, you not only find things that suit you, but also get ideas that you might not normally find in a traditional brick and mortar store. And, the fact that it automatically checks you out, taking payment when you leave the store is pretty clever.
One concern I have, is that with this advancement in technology, the personal touch is gone. There’s no chance to build relationship with the retail staff, and get that contact with another person. Still, the technology is very clever, and could help transform the industry in to something entirely different.
What do you think? Do you like this idea? Or do you prefer going in to stores and talking to employees?
For more information on all the technologies and companies that make this possible, head on over to DX3Canada.com.