Technology Exhibits Offer Glimpse Of Retailing’s Future At Consumer Engagement Technology World In New York City

Jan. 17, 2012
On the show floor during the recent Consumer Engagement Technology World session at the Javits Convention Center in New York City we found a highly intriguing display capability at the vislogix booth.

Editor’s Note: The following article was provided by Paul Schlossberg, president of D/FW Consulting in Goshen, N.Y.:

On the show floor during the recent Consumer Engagement Technology World session at the Javits Convention Center in New York City we found a highly intriguing display capability at the vislogix booth. Gino Centofanti, chief interactive officer, explained that they have developed advertising and merchandising tools based on interactive and projection based technologies. One application is a transparent LCD screen which can be applied to refrigerated doors or even glassfront vending machines along with standard display fixtures or cubes. Messages, pictures and/or text, can be digitally shown on the transparent screen and still allowing the product to be viewed behind it. This will capture the attention of passers-by and entice them to see the products being offered for sale.  

The other vislogix application is even more appealing. They are able to transform any glass surface (i.e., the glass-front for a vending machine or cooler cabinet) in retail locations into a transparent interactive visual experience, creating that whole floating on glass futuristic sci-fi appeal – even to function as the sales interface for stores 24/7. 

At the KEOConnect exhibit we saw a new way to create advertising revenue, and, at the same time, provide a very helpful service for shoppers at the locations you serve. KEO is an interactive media center and a recharging station for handheld phones and PDAs. If your mobile phone needs a charge, you can lock it up securely and charge it for free. There is no need to have your charger or be tied to your phone while it is charging. Lock it away, safe and secure, in a KEO charging locker and enjoy your lunch or snack break. There is video content on screen – travel tips, book reviews, seasonal guides and product recommendations plus a touch screen with engagement offering weather, stock info, sports, gossip and breaking news. Soon KEO will offer movies, media, music – with various ports – available for immediate purchase. KEOConnect has partnered with Hudson News at major airports across the country. You could deploy this service and media access point at locations you’re serving.

There are four critical takeaways from the 2011 CETW Expo. Now is the time for these exciting and dynamic new merchandising tools in vending, coffee service and on-site foodservice operations.

Get out there and learn more about what’s new and how it will work at sites you’re serving.   

Next it’s time to make some test deployments. Our shoppers expect us to be up-to-date. That means having the products they want. And, especially for younger people, it means allowing them to interact with us and buy from us using their smart phones.

There are income opportunities from some of these technology applications. Advertising can be delivered and the revenue can be an important plus to profitability at sites we serve.

A new generation of shopper tracking tools is available to radically change how we a) manage our set-up and traffic flow, and, b) promote to shoppers to create impulse purchases – especially in our most profitable product lines.

These tools are just that – tools we can use in our businesses. Deploying one or more of these new developments must be focused on driving increased sales and profits.   

Peter Hinssen, of Across Technology, provides some very insightful comments about the impact of technology in modern society. Hinssen said, “If you only see technology as a way to be efficient, you are missing the point. But “if you seen technology as a way to innovate, then you’re there.”

Avoid thinking about systems like telemetry and remote machine monitoring as cost savings tools. In fact, these are tools to: 1) keep our machines in stock and monitor operating status, 2) track what is (and is not) selling well, and 3) manage accountability to avoid ‘shrink.” With that knowledge, we can run better stores.

Hinssen also said, “The iPod didn’t change the world, iTunes did.”

Think about smart phones. Ask yourself, how may APPS are on my smart phone? Just over five years ago there were no iPhones or Android phones. Now people want that technology in every phase of their lives. It is time for us, in vending, OCS and onsite foodservice, to be part of that smart phone universe.

Imagine the conversations at sites we serve, when a shopper can say, “I used my phone to look at the nutritional information.  Then I created my combination lunch order and paid for it.  I went to three separate vending to get my sandwich, snack and cold drink.”   

Think about that, vending machines as a digital destination shopping point. That really would be something special.