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IDEA #35 – In-Store, On-Product, More Information Call / Text

Techquila Shots reader Graydon just mentioned that he was at Lowe’s the other day looking at bbq grills and that one of them had a phone number displayed on it, so you could get a narrative walk-through of the features on the grill.

What a great idea! Practically everyone has a cell phone on them — so it just makes sense for products in stores to include a phone number with an automated message that tells the consumer more about the product and why they should buy it over a competing product.

Some examples for use off the top of my head:

  1. Music (CDs) — hear 30-second samples of the songs on an album (with music reviewer excerpts between sample listens).
  2. Movies (DVDs) — Consumer sends a text message and gets a movie preview back to their cell phone (note: Verizon only allows 15-sec videos sent to your phone; Cingular is 30 secs). Or maybe the user can browse a mobile website that has the previews. Or maybe there’s a broadband cellular wifi-connected kiosk that can display any movie preview. In addition to retail locations, Blockbuster could offer something like this.
  3. Books — Consumers can hear more on what the book is about, author commentary, and professional reviews (or excerpts).
  4. Household Products — Consumers could view a simple video on their cell phone that shows how the device actually operates (i.e. Here’s how this blender works; or this is how well this vacuum works; or these are the functions on this microwave). Or celebrity endorsements (audio or video) for make-up, clothes, etc.
  5. Sports Products — Consumers could hear celebrity endorsements, such as Michael Jordan talking about how this Spalding basketball is the best.

What other ideas do you get?

Far-Out: Does the future hold consumers negotiating for the best price via their cell phone, purchasing the product over the phone while in-store (via the manufacturer direct) and then the store being paid commission by the manufacturer? Maybe there’s a new retail model here — a store that’ll carry anything for any product manufacturer, and the product manufacturers pay a flat rental fee of retail space in-store. Purchases are authorized over the phone by consumer to manufacturer, and manufacturer sends confirmation of product purchased to the retail store, which lets the consumer walk-out of the store with the product.

  • http://www.thejshow.com Jeremy Kandah

    I think this is why I enjoy shopping online so much. Because, there is so much information available and I am a info junkie. How cool would it be to have a little LCD screen that you can scan things or whatever and get this info.

    This is a great idea for an electronics store, because I hate talking to the unknowledgable salesmen.

  • http://boldlygoing.com James D Kirk

    For me, the “Far Out” section in this idea is the hidden jewel here. Stores simply become merchandising space that manufacturers “rent out”.

    Initially, the manufacturer would likely provide a sales tutorial to the store (probably done now) that would allow for basic questions to be answered in person. But having that phone number and “about code” would enable the customer to do more of the research on their own, in their own way. In fact, the customer could do their preliminary searching online, and get a directory listing of where they can purchase their desired item(s) locally, and then off to the “will call” they go.

    Hey, I love the Home Depot. Finding someone inside the store that knows at least as much as I do (not being conceited, honest 😉 ) is VERY HARD. If I could dial up a number, enter a code, get manufacturers info and insight, and then press “0” to talk to someone to get more specific application type of information, I promise you, Home Depot (or the store that gave me that) would be my business.

    Go Boldly!

  • rulepark

    This is an absolutely fabulous idea. I love that one that says send to this mobile number for preview about certain movies.

    For example :-

    KEY IN “MV PRESTIGE” AND SEND TO 36686 using ur mobile.

    After a while, u can get the preview of the movies.

    Nice.Nice.

    I love it, I will propose this to my friend, since they are doing this MOBILE CONTENT company.

  • http://www.danielgerges.com Daniel Gerges

    For the first part of your idea:

    From a technical point of view, the “link” between a physical good and the information associated with it is much well done by using 2D barcodes that are scanned by the mobile – this is a huge success in Japan and soon arriving in Europe.

    ContactLess cards/Rfid tags readers are also a great way of achieving what you say.

    Those two points require that someone “tag” all instore product and setup this link toward the documentation of the product – not only the official one, but maybe user reviews…

    From the merchants and manufacturers point of view that’s not clear who will own the “brand” when user will look at the move preview or any other product documentation.

    But that’s surely very exciting!

    For the second part I like it also very much – and I believe that the next revolution will be how internet impact the traditional commerce – there must be smarter things to do for merchants than to open a shop on ebay :)

    PS / I’m a big fan of this blog!

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