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:
- Music (CDs) — hear 30-second samples of the songs on an album (with music reviewer excerpts between sample listens).
- 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.
- Books — Consumers can hear more on what the book is about, author commentary, and professional reviews (or excerpts).
- 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.
- 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.