Telling the Story of Retail Products

By | Industry Focus

I recently stopped by the Elliot Bay Book Store in Seattle and was impressed with the amount of personal reviews their team had hand-written for book titles. I ended up picking up a lot more books than I would have at a regular book store where I would browse covers or spines of books. In this era of fake internet product reviews, it was refreshing to see a handwritten review from someone who read the text… additionally some of the reviews got a good chuckle out of me (see below). Could this well executed strategy of telling stories about products be applied to more than just a bookstore?

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Retail Insights from the Amazon Go Store

By | Industry Focus

The problem with my typical convenience store experience is that I wind up in the checkout line behind the guy who is indecisive on his cigarette selection, then can’t remember his wife’s lottery numbers, and finally wants to pay for everything in pennies. This experience is the opposite of the convenience that I am looking for.

Amazon’s Solution

Amazon appears to have found a way to solve my problem through the magic of technology. You walk into their new Amazon Go store, grab your groceries, and you just walk out.

I recently had the chance to stop by the Amazon Go store in Seattle and try out this experience. While there wasn’t anything super fancy about my shopping trip on the surface, there were several observations that stood out to me when I took some time to reflect back on the experience.  A number of these items should be very relevant to retailers as they start to think about how technology is going to impact their store experience over the next few years.

The Amazon Go Store Experience

The general premise of the Amazon Go store is that you:

  1. Download the “Amazon Go” app that links to your Amazon account
  2. Scan a barcode on the app to enter the store
  3. Pick items off the shelf.
  4. “Just Walk Out”
  5. <magic happens here>
  6. You are charged for the items a few minutes after you leave the store.

During my visit, I did my fair share of picking up items off the shelf to look at them and then returning the items to the shelf. I was not charged for any of the items. I also “walked out” with multiple items of the same type and it was able to accurately count my picks. I received a notification about 5 minutes after I left the store that accurately displayed the items I had just walked out with.


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Healthy Developer Series: Breaking Old Habits

By | Industry Focus

Human beings are creatures of habit. There is no denying that we developers fall victim to those habits. It wouldn’t be so bad if the majority of developers had good or healthy habits, however, this is generally not the case. There is the compulsion to grab that can of soda, a handful of M&M’s, or light up that cigarette outside. For the most part, these habits are committed to muscle memory, which is why most of us don’t notice the act itself. To become a healthier individual you have to understand how habits work and in doing so, you will see how to change them.

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How to Test the Efficacy of Your Omni-Channel – BlueFletch Uses Support Analytics to Power Retail’s Buy Online, Pickup In-Store

By | Industry Focus

The “Buy Online Pickup In Store” offering has become a popular addition to most retailer’s omni-channel strategy over the last few years. Flexible fulfillment programs that integrate all three sales channels – online, in-store and mobile apps – can reduce shipping costs for customers and increase overall sales by drawing more shoppers into the store. BOPIS improves customer satisfaction and allows traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to more effectively compete with major online stores.

In an age of Amazon Now/Echo, Alibaba, Mobile Payments and other disruptive retail technologies, customers are demanding and expecting more from brick-and-mortar retailers. Retailers must acknowledge these expectations or risk losing out to the competition. Today’s savvy and busy shoppers want to save two things: time and money. BOPIS as part of a bigger omni-channel strategy can deliver on both.

Strategic advantage of well implementing BOPIS include:

  • More unplanned purchases when shoppers visit the store (40% vs only 25%).
  • Faster delivery.
  • Connecting customer data from online to offline for insights down the road.
  • Larger basket sizes.
  • Higher conversion rates.
  • Sometimes it’s more convenient than waiting for the item to be delivered.
  • Save on shipping costs.
  • Shorter overall time to receipt of an order compared to ordering online.
  • Price matching now ensures the most competitive price.

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Mobile Devices and Accessories for Healthcare in the Field

By | Industry Focus

Lowering the cost of healthcare and extending care to those in need has long been a societal goal.  The proliferation of mobile devices in every corner of the planet could be the catalyst that is needed to bring this dream to reality.

As smartphones have advanced, medical diagnostic devices and accessories have been developed to pair and provide mobile alternatives for use by doctors in the field.  In areas where tools such as microscopes are not readily available, these attachments provide the functionality needed to perform necessary laboratory work.  This has been especially beneficial for doctors visiting remote disaster relief areas where hospitals are either overcrowded or not able to operate.  Doctors are now able to provide point-of-care testing and quickly diagnose so treatment can begin as soon as possible.

The hardware and accessories being developed to enable the diagnosis of medical issues using smartphones have two main principles: low cost and phone agnosticism.  One of the best examples of both is a microscope that costs less than $1 to produce and can clip onto almost any smartphone.

Here are some example accessories and devices that have brought complex medical analysis to consumers and doctors alike:

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Top Apps for Retailers

By | Industry Focus

Customers love apps, retailers should too.

Customers increasingly expect to find the conveniences associated with online stores in brick and mortars as well. Devices ranging from mobile phones to tablet computers have transformed the industry in the last few years because mobile-equipped retail staffers enhance the customer’s in-store experience. Mobile devices put price comparisons and offers at consumers’ fingertips, and customer and inventory insight, staffing and mPOS ability in the hands of retailers.

Here are 8 mobile apps retailers should know:

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Optimize Retail Sales with Beacon Technology

By | Industry Focus

What are beacons?

Beacons are small transmitters that are constantly sending a signal to all devices listening for such a signal. Apps on mobile devices can listen for that signal and, when they receive it, trigger a location-based action. In retail, beacon technology tracks a customer’s path around a retail store by communicating with smartphone apps through a Bluetooth signal, offering tremendous potential to target customers with relevant, contextual, personalized and appropriately-timed messages.

What is Apple’s iBeacon?

There is some confusion over Apple’s iBeacon and whether or not beacon technology can work on Android and Windows mobile devices or tablets. To clarify, yes, it can. Apple’s iBeacon is not hardware.

iBeacon is a system built into the latest version of Apple’s iOS 7 and 8 mobile operating system that lets iPhones and iPads constantly scan for nearby Bluetooth devices. When iBeacon identifies a beacon, it can wake up relevant apps on someone’s phone, even if that  app is closed and not running in the background. Additionally, iPads and iPhones can act as beacons; they can emit beacon signals to wake up apps on other iOS devices.

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Bringing Science to the Art of Retail

By | Industry Focus

Retailers collect massive amounts of customer data from POS transactions, loyalty programs, social media, call center records, geolocation and online searches and sales. Now what? In order to turn a higher profit retailers must be able to use that data to refine pricing, anticipate demand, personalize marketing and optimize supply chain.

Part of the challenge for retailers is connecting the data from in-store shoppers (POS and loyalty programs) and from online and mobile shoppers (email addresses, cookies and credit card information) and capturing what is trending on social media.

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In For the Long Haul: Sustainable mHealth Practices

By | Industry Focus

Healthcare in the United States is a $2.8 trillion industry that is only going to grow.

As consumer clamors for convenience and increased access continue, it is imperative that sustainable mHealth practices are used in order to make sure that the system does not collapse in on itself. Unexpected events in an industry so intimately acquainted with its consumers’ lives are not desirable.


PwC Health Industry Trends 2015

Around 10 million Americans became insured following the Affordable Care Act. Consumers attracted to the ease and potential efficiency of mHealth technologies are taking a renewed interest in their healthcare and treatment. Patients are interested in being their own health advocates and working more closely with HCPs.

These trends underscore an important point: the healthcare industry is becoming a consumer-driven market. The growth of mHealth and other healthcare trends indicate that we are in the middle of a growing New Health Economy, in which older business models don’t necessarily apply. Read More