Amazon’s long been a go-to for people to online price compare while shopping at brick-and-mortars. Now, a new patent granted to the company could prevent people from doing just that inside Amazon’s own stores.
The patent, titled “Physical Store Online Shopping Control,” details a mechanism where a retailer can intercept network requests like URLs and search terms that happen on its in-store Wi-Fi, then act upon them in various ways.
The document details in great length how a retailer like Amazon would use this information to its benefit. If, for example, the retailer sees you’re trying to access a competitor’s website to price check an item, it could compare the requested content to what’s offered in-store and then send price comparison information or a coupon to your browser instead. Or it could suggest a complementary item, or even block content outright.
Why it’s not hot? Amazon’s patent also lets the retailer know your physical whereabouts, saying, “the location may be triangulated utilizing information received from a multitude of wireless access points.” The retailer can then use this information to try and upsell you on items in your immediate area or direct a sales representative to your location.
It’s the very sort of thing that Amazon itself protests. Amazon is among companies that signed ‘day of action’ against FCC’s planned rollback of net neutrality rules
The Neiman Marcus Innovation Lab (known as iLab) has launched their interactive retail table project in three of its major locations in Austin, Chicago and Topanga. Displayed in each store’s shoe salon, these concept tables are approximately 70” long, 34” tall, and 26” wide and comprise of a clean-cut Ultra HD 4K touchscreen that features a single, continuous pane of glass that changes to fit in with Neiman Marcus’ color scheme.
The table’s software enables shoppers to browse and filter Neiman Marcus’ inventory including collections both in-store and online. There’s also a ‘My Favorites for Wishlist,’ that visitors can add items to and request to be emailed the product links should they want to think about their purchase at a later date. There are also benefits for employees as the software includes an up-to-the-minute inventory that presents what’s “coming soon,” and latest trend reports, which means staff can offer accurate, insightful advice as to new arrivals and where the customer can purchase something elsewhere.
We’ve been focusing a lot of how digital and physical marketing and user experience come together, and this is a great example of bringing customer expectations to the forefront of the store experience. This has a lot of potential for the “cool factor” as well as data collection, helping customers find what they want, and tracking customers across channels.