From the NRF BIG Show: 8 Innovations in E-Commerce, Part 2
How the online shopping experience has changed since the birth of e-commerce was the focus of a lively session at the National Retail Federation's BIG Show in New York City this week.
Kelly Mooney, president and chief experience officer at the digital marketing agency Resource Interactive; Bill Bass, president of Charming Direct; and Bob Myers, CEO of Sheplers, teamed up to discuss eight innovative concepts currently being deployed by retailers to help them increase marketing effectiveness, enhance customer experiences and harness social commerce.
In yesterday's edition of The ROI Report, we featured the first four of the eight concepts, which included contributed merchandising, interactive shopping, on-site conversations and e-commerce everywhere. Here are the last four, along with Bass’ and Myers’ takes on them:
5. Virtual fitting room. Mooney discussed a relatively new shopping application called Fashionista, available at apparel retailer Tobi.com, which brings together augmented reality, motion capture and social networking to create a virtual fitting room where you can "try on" items — and hopefully do away with the disappointment of getting a dress, shirt or sweater that's totally wrong. With just a few clicks of the mouse, Fashionista lets online shoppers get a sense of how they'd look in the clothes they're browsing online, then allows users to share images of themselves with friends on Facebook to get feedback on fashion dos and don'ts.
Bass’ take: "I give it a thumbs down. It's not ready for prime-time, and looks difficult for people to use."
Myers’ take: "I agree that it's clunky and doesn't work for everybody and not ready for prime-time, but some folks will figure out how to make it better. And when they do, it will take off."
6. QR Codes. These 2-D codes, which are becoming very popular in the retail space, can be read by smartphones with a camera. Mooney discussed a Ralph Lauren QR code application that allows mobile device users to scan a code from select magazines ads, store window displays, among other places, and be linked directly to Ralph Lauren's site.
Bass’ take: "I give this a thumbs down. Remember the CueCat from the 90s? It reminds me of that."
Myers’ take: "I give this a thumbs up. This kind of technology is huge in Japan, and has legs here. I think it will go mainstream."
Bass’ take: "I give this a thumbs up, especially for a company like QVC. It allows consumers to shop without having to be in front of their TV set all the time."
Myers’ take: "I give this a thumbs down. I think it's important to have a website that can be delivered across all mobile devices, as opposed to building apps for specifc devices like an iPad. To me, it's a bad use of time."
8. Passive geolocation technology. Finally, Mooney discussed the concept of passive gelocation, which includes shopping apps such as Shopkick, a location-based shopping app for iPhones that many retailers have signed up for. Shopkick enables retailers to reward shoppers just for visiting their stores.
Here's how Shopkick works: consumers walk into a partner retail store with the Shopkick app open. The app detects a "Shopkick signal" coming from the Shopkick device located in the participating store. Because the detection occurs on the user's iPhone, the privacy of presence information is completely under the user's control. Once a Shopkick signal is detected, the app delivers reward points called "kickbucks" that can redeeemed for special offers.
Bass’ take: "I give it a thumbs up. Mobile devices will have the biggest impact on retail stores now and in the future."
Myers’ take: "I also give it a thumbs up. This has great usability and can help drive traffic into a store, as well as be used as part of a loyalty program."