Eric Mantion

Is Smart Shopping the Latest "Smart" thing to improve your life?

If there are 2 truths I think we can all agree with, it would be:

  • We all want to spend less time doing the things we don’t want to do
  • We all want to get more enjoyment out of the things we enjoy doing

However, when it comes to Stores – there’s 2 truths that they can probably agree on:

  • They want you to spend as much in their as possible
  • They want to provide you support as cheaply as possible

Don’t fault them – they are a business – and the purpose of all businesses, at least at some level, is to make money. If they can provide you with a more enjoyable & rewarding experience in the process of making money, then so much the better because it is human nature to try to spend as much time as possible doing the things we enjoy doing (see the 1st two truths above). All this being said, retailers are realizing that the universal truths of people & the universal truths of stores, so not have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, in as much as reasonably possible, the more overlap they can drive, the better it is for them.


If you think about it, this is not dissimilar to what Disney does with its amusement parks. Back when I was lived in Orlando in the early 1990s for Nuclear Power Training, I heard a rumor that Disney World, on a daily basis, made so much money in cash that they could not cost effectively count it all. Instead, they just put the day’s haul in a very large scale & would weigh it. Then they would put some random sampling of the money in a smaller scale. By counting that smaller amount of money & weighing it, they could figure out that there was $XYZ per pound (whatever it worked out to be) and then just apply that ratio to the heavier amount to figure out how much money they earned. Now, I’m sure with modern counting machines, and the prevalent use of credit cards, that this is no longer and issue (if it were ever true and not just an urban legend). But, even if it is not actually true, it is believable, because, as amazing as it sounds, people not only pay money to get INTO the amusement park, but then they spend a ton of money while they are in the park, buying clothes, food, and other souvenirs. In reality, the “Disney way” is actually the pinnacle after which all retailers should strive.


Now, I’m not suggesting that Macy’s needs to rip out their escalators and replace them with a water slide. Or that Adidas needs to add a Tea Cup Ride to their stores. But there are some very cool – and reasonably economical – ways in which retailers can really start to bring the shopping experience of their customers to a whole new level. The transition to Smart Shopping can benefit stores and customers alike and this week in New York City, the National Retail Federation is holding their annual big show & Intel is there showing some pretty impressive things (although I may be slightly biased). Here are some pictures of the different demos we are showing:


The future of the sneaker buying experience

Chris Aubrey of Adidas is showing off the Intel powered virtual footwear wall. Already a staple of their store in the UK, this intelligent system is being rolled out to more Adidas locations soon.


The touchless interactive kiosk

Put away that hand sanitizer! This interactive display from InWindow, an intelligent system powered by Intel, allows you to interact with it using hand motions —you don’t have to touch it at all


Macy’s is putting you on the spot…the beauty spot!

Ever needed advice on what beauty product to buy? Curious to learn about the newest trends? The Macy’s beauty spot is your answer. Bonus: You can download what you learn to a mobile device. You CAN take it with you!


The HSN interactive touchwall featuring Wolfgang Puck

HSN has built a veritable wall that will tour the country, visiting food and wine events, and feature an interactive cooking demo from Wolfgang Puck! On the lower half of the wall, you can browse for information about products and more.


Microsoft’s intelligent systems demo

Using the power of motion control to govern interactions, Microsoft’s retail solution allows you to interact without touch and then take away what you learn thanks to QR codes


Of course, the pictures above are interesting, and they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I think videos are even more valuable, so here’s a great video where Michelle Tinsley (@Intel_Michelle) talks in greater detail of some of the features & values that this new interactive wall that we built in collaboration with HSN:


So, the main takeaway here is that the shopping experience is changing – we think for the better – by using new, “Smart Shopping” experiences, retailers can make a trip to their stores a more entertaining & engaging experience while shoppers are able (hopefully) get more enjoyment from every shopping trip. And, if over the long run, that enables “Store A” to be more prosperous than “Store B” because the former is providing a more enjoyable visit, then isn’t that just free-market economics at its best? What do you think? What kinds of “Smart Shopping” experiences would you want from your favorite store? What types of things would make you visit more often? Let us know in the comments below, post your thoughts on our Facebook page, or let Michelle know on Twitter: @Intel_Michelle


Eric Mantion

About Eric Mantion

Eric is the Nerd Herder for Intel's Software & Services Group responsible for the Intel RealSense Community You can find him online at: - - | Eric graduated from the US Naval Academy, with a bachelor of science in Physics. He has served on Nuclear Powered Submarines and was attached to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE. He has worked in the Semiconductor Industry for over 10 years and has held positions as a Product Marketing Engineer, a Senior Industry Analyst, a Competitive Intelligence Analyst, and a Technology Evangelist. In whatever spare time he has, Eric loves spending working out (especially Beach Volleyball), tinkering with computers, dabbling with Linux, exploring Android, and playing video games (especially StarCraft II & DOTA 2)

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