When The Store Talks, You Should Listen [Future of Retail]

When The Store Talks, You Should Listen [Future of Retail]

Opt-in hardware and software solutions serve up relevant product details and other information to help inform purchase decisions.

  • 28 november 2013

What if we told you that encouraging your in-store shoppers to pull out their phones was a good thing?

That’s the idea behind a number of new hardware and software solutions that are trying to combat showrooming behaviors by delivering real-time information like product info, discounts and directions to customers as they need it, part of trend from the Future of Retail Report we’re calling Contextual Support.

These new communication platforms leverage data like location and time of day to supply customers with relevant messages and information at specific points along the purchase path. This on-hand access reduces the shopper’s need to search, while keeping them immersed in branded and targeted interactions. Read on below, to learn more about how these new solutions can help you.


Retail innovations company ByteLight has created an LED light bulb array that sends messages at sonic speeds to shoppers’ phones while in-store. The lighting system flashes at a frequency that is unrecognizable to the human eye but can be translated by a user’s smartphone to communicate specific messages. ByteLight’s technology integrates with existing mobile retail applications and third party APIs to help create localized messaging within a store. Retailers can trigger purchase opportunities for products when customers are standing in front of or send them up-to-the-minute promotions around in-store displays, as well as being able to to help shoppers navigate between points of interest in the store. In a pilot across 50 retail stores in China, ByteLight’s technology increased in-store shopper engagement by 30%. The company’s CEO, Dan Ryan, told PSFK that he hopes to offer a direct competition to mobile shoppers looking elsewhere by connecting with shoppers that already have their phones out.


Retail solutions company Estimote has released the Beacon, a Bluetooth-LE-enabled ‘puck’ that emits signals that can be picked up by shoppers’ smartphones to access more information about nearby products. If a shopper has downloaded the app for a store that has implemented the Beacon system and opted-in to share their details and location, within range of a Beacon they will receive detailed information on their phone about products nearby that are tied to it. Retailers can program messages for when shoppers enter the store or approach a specific area within the store. Shoppers can be prompted with product photos, videos, prices, personalized promotions, and social media information, so they can receive a promotion based on past purchase history or length of time spent near a product.


The British fashion retailer Topshop used the mobile sound app Chirp to alert consumers of products released during the the brand’s September 2013 fashion show, behind-the-scenes details, and commentary about the attendees and models. Chirp is a mobile app that allows users to transmit images, links, and contact information to iPhone and Android devices via sound. Shoppers who visited the store’s flagship location in London’s Oxford Circus found a dedicated Chirp and Twitter ‘garden’ where they could get updates sent to their devices using the Chirp app. In the run-up to the show and during, Topshop used the Chirp and Twitter garden as a central location to share images of the prep and designer pattern rooms, backstage processes, and even live updates from the show.

In the fourth edition of the Future of Retail Report, PSFK Labs brings together two interconnected themes and eleven key trends that provide a foundation for the modern shopping experience. The findings are brought to life with best-in-class examples, actionable strategies and leading questions to inspire leading retailers and brands. Join us at our San Francisco conference on Nov. 21st where talks from retail innovators will bring the key themes to life.



Photo by TechHive

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