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Black Friday, iBeacon, Connected Glass and more holiday technology

By Steve Simmerman | 12/10/2013 | 7:19 AM

It's hard to be believe that Gray Thursday and Black Friday have passed, but the competition among those in retail for consumer dollars is getting even more interesting.  There have been some fascinating developments in technology that several retailers are experimenting with.  Here are some new technologies being piloted:

"Connected glass" by EBay - EBay is piloting 10' x 10' interactive touchable screens where shoppers can browse a variety of products, enter their phone number and get a text message to complete the transaction through their smartphone.  These interactive shopping devices are being used where a new store is being built vs the traditional boarded up window with a sign on it.  EBay also plans to use these connected glass panels inside existing stores.  Think of the possibilities of the 'store within a store' where vendors can have their own connected glass shops within a larger store!

iBeacon by Apple - Apple is currently running this new iOS 7 technology across all 245 of their U.S. stores.  Small Bluetooth transmitters are inconspicuously placed under store shelves and 'sense' when a shopper is nearby and thus sends messages to the shopper alerting them of special offers, etc.  Using Bluetooth provides more precise location information than currently available with GPS.  Retailers such as Macy's are also piloting programs using iBeacon in partnership with Shopkick.  I expect app developers out there to open a whole new world of location based shopping apps.  Major League Baseball (MLB) is also piloting the technology to enhance the fan game day experience.

One last technology related retail experiment happening is what Google Winter Wonderlab is providing to shoppers are various malls.  Google is setting up seasonal stores in the mall to give shoppers a really fun (and focused) shopping experience where they can look and play with the latest gadgets and software sold by google.  The Winter Wonderlab also includes a life-sized snow globe where you can create your own video!

Really innovative and fascinating concepts that are sure to expand and lead to even bigger and better technological advancements and shopping experiences for all of us.  "E" commerce is truly on a torrid pace - not just the fulfillment side of the retail supply chain, but the shopping experience as well.

Happy Holidays!


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About Steve Simmerman

Steve Simmerman

Steve Simmerman is a Senior Director with JDA. Simmerman has more than 25 years of experience in the supply chain industry including software, consulting and material handling. He has focused his efforts on working with clients to achieve high performance supply chain results through partnerships and creative solutions. He is a member of CSCMP, WERC, and MHIA and is a regular contributor to several industry publications and events. Simmerman holds his undergraduate and MBA degrees from The University of Notre Dame.


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