How The Internet Of Things Will Reshape The Retail Experience


By Tom Bianculli, Senior Director of Emerging Business, Motorola Solutions

As the “Internet of things” evolves, it’s expected to have a profound impact on retail. Stores will become more intelligent. Brick-and-mortar retailers will become as connected as their online counterparts — everything in the store and everyone in it will be connected in real-time to create a personalized environment for shoppers, store associates and managers.

How will this be achieved? It all starts with capturing data in real time to gain insight into what is happening in and around the store environment. Sensors will pick up the movement of products, people and key assets automatically.

That real-time data will then be transformed into operational instructions and the insights derived will be mobilized to the right person, at the right time for the right action to be taken. We refer to this cycle as “capture, transform and mobilize” and are investing to render that into a solutions architecture that will effectively turn an enterprise into a platform that can be used to drive outcomes.

For example, by using sensors, video, RFID, precise location data and analytic technologies, store managers will have new levels of real-time inventory and asset visibility. They will be able to gain valuable insights from the movements and actions of associates, products and millions of shoppers.

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30 Seconds to the Correlation Between Weather and Consumer Behavior

In an interesting (heavily) sponsored Xerox content series called 30 Seconds to Know on NBC News, the Weather Company’s Vikram Somaya shares some of the fascinating correlations he has found between weather and consumer behavior.

It’s one of the very few occasions I saw something on TV, then remembered the URL, and followed it over to the Web. 

Once you get past the pre-rolls, banners, and interstitials, the content is really good and it’s actually a shame that there isn’t an obvious place to click through for more video or even a text interview. 

If the topic of weather and behavioral influence piques your interest, here’s an interview with Somaya from the Atlantic last year, Cloudy with a Chance of Beer.

Fragrance: Margiela Sells the Invisible Through Social Media

With spring starting to unfurl in New York, I decided to get some new warm weather perfumes. For me, top notes of jasmine and sea salt/water almost always have to be in the mix — it transports me to my favorite vacations and immediately evokes all the things I love about living in a warm climate: the lingering scent of sun lotion on skin, ocean air, jasmine flowers that seem to pulse their fragrance when you walk by, bougainvillea tumbling over every wall, and bare feet on warm tiles.  

While browsing the walls at Sephora, I happened upon the new line of scents called Replica from Margiela (the packaging instantly caught my eye) and after a few sniffs, I picked up “Beach Walk” and knew it wold be my signature scent this summer. 

As I unfurled the package this morning, I noticed a serial number and CTA to “continue the experience” at Maison Martin Margiela… in typical Margiela fashion there was no URL or simple explanation to where or how or why. But I don’t mind that. Many years ago, when I was studying at The London College of Fashion, I fell in love with Margiela’s runway shows that featured lab coat-wearing people simply walking the clothing down the runway on hangers and the penchant of putting Suzy Menkes and friends in the back row etc. So my love for the unconventional fashion house has always been there. Not to mention the current website with a bunch of pop-up windows. LOL. 

Fragrance marketing is endlessly fascinating to me. How do you sell the invisible through lifestyle and sensory evocation alone? (Scent strips notwithstanding.) 

Let’s take a look at the brilliant multichannel project that is so much more than a website or even a product and completely surrounds this new line of fragrances.

Maison Martin Margiela asked artists from around the world to photograph moments close to their hearts, where details call upon an olfactive and sensorial intimacy, as perceptive as they are recognizable.

With the launch of the fragrances site, they’re asking fans to continue to create this evolving and collective memory, sharing photos and using the #SMELLSLIKEMEMORIES hashtag on Instagram, or contributing directly to the site (although that feature was broken for me). 

I suppose you could argue that the hashtag is a bit long but I think it works perfectly for the campaign and doesn’t force some hard-to-understand acronym where natural words work perfectly thankyouverymuch.

The Replica Fragrance Tumblr is brilliantly organized so you can paginate through the different scents in pictures. All of the fragrances have their own galleries and each photo, when you click on it, can be permalink-shared and Pinned (all metadata on the contributor and detail stays with the picture). 


Inviting artists and audiences to be involved in the experience is well thought-out and doesn’t feel like a stretch or a bolt-on UGC campaign that some marketer dreamed-up in a vacuum. It’s implicitly linked to the product and more importantly, the product story. 

I love everything about this. 

Early Adopters Abandoning Wearables

According to the Guardian tech and a study by Endeavor Partners, ”One-third of American consumers who have owned a wearable product stopped using it within six months. What’s more, while one in 10 American adults own some form of activity tracker, half of them no longer use it.”

As a recent owner of a FitBit Flex (I should clarify that I actually won it at SxSWi vs. buying it), I’ve been tracking my steps, workouts, sleep, and food pretty rigorously but I’m only a few weeks into using it. 

It’s pretty time consuming to log food and extra activities but I like being able to see half way through the day that I’ve already walked five or more miles… I even caught myself doing 100 jumping jacks the other night while my laundry finished just so I could make my daily steps goal. (Now we know who’s goal-oriented.)

Right now, I’m sticking with my tracker but I can see the novelty wearing off pretty quick. 

I think the most interesting thing about this study is not actually about the wearable tech itself, more the speed at which the novelty wears off. It spells good things for consumer appetite to embrace innovation but a perhaps troubling sign of how disposable we view consumer technology.