Blown To Bits

Point and Buy

Saturday, February 27th, 2010 by Harry Lewis

In B2B we briefly noted a couple of coming technologies in the advertising and marketing field—stores that would welcome you when they “saw” you coming in the door, perhaps suggesting things you might like to buy based on what they knew about what you had bought, etc. The New York Times reports today that it’s all here. It’s a good story, describing multiple technologies. It leads with the idea of pointing a cell phone camera at a window display after hours and having the item recognized from its image, so the shopper can buy it literally right out of the window. Here is another technology that I find particularly interesting:

Other retailers have begun testing a product from I.B.M. called Presence. Shoppers who sign up can be detected as soon as they set foot in a store. That enables Presence to offer real-time mobile coupons. And tracking shoppers’ spending habits and browsing time in various departments can help the system figure out who might be moved to suddenly buy a discounted item.

Presence can also make product recommendations. If a shopper was buying cake mix, Presence might suggest buying the store’s private-label frosting and sprinkles, too.

“We’re also able to do predictive analytics — predict what we think you might want based on what we already know about you,” said Craig W. Stevenson, an I.B.M. executive who oversees Presence.

We were imagining RFID chips in clothing as the identifiers. We should have expected that GPS phones would be ubiquitous and that people would happily tell merchants their whereabouts in exchange for small perceived rewards.

One Response to “Point and Buy”

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