In a world full of answers you start your journey by asking the right questions
The list of questions deals with key issues like where is the genuine consumer demand for tablet versions of magazines? and, isn’t it time to create a distinct line item in the marketing budget for Social Media? After all it is much bigger – and more expensive – than advertising will ever allow it to be. He also asks what are consumer receiving in exchange for the data marketeers are extracting from them? and, will the creative thinking from advertising’s past (i.e. storytelling) cut it in the new golden age of digital advertising?
Perhaps the most interesting question he posed was what is the “Adjacent Possible” that’s presenting itself to web users and marketers right now?
If I had been at Ad:Tech this year then I would have embarked on the quest of answering that question by checking out Innovation Alley. And because I believe the future of advertising is See it, Click it and Buy it I would have gone in search of the people behind AisleBuyer’s mobile checkout technology.
This iPhone technology provides retailers with opportunity to exploit the Kairos moment (See It’s the New Plastic and yes, it feels Fantastic, Surfing the Edge of Chaos, The 3 Ages of Business Intelligence) by allowing customers to complete the impulse buy simply by scanning the bar code with their mobile phone.
The original press release (see Aislebuyer announces launch first ever mobile self checkout iPhone application) indicated that AisleBuyer’s solution consisted of 5 modules:
Of course simply scanning the bar code and completing the transaction via the iPhone is only a small part of the retail sales cycle. There are a multitude of processes and activities that feed that Kairos moment and feed off that Kairos moment.
From the retailers perspective it is easy to see that this technology could create as many problems as it solves. For example, when a customer passes through the check-out it provides the retailer with the opportunity to conduct visual checks to ensure all the goods being taken from the shop are being paid for. Without those security check the retailer would be operating on a trust based economy.
With AisleBuyer and some of the other technologies out there today the customer now has the ability to complete the impulse transaction on their mobile phone what the retailer need is a technology or a process that allows them to verify remotely what the customer has bought and just as importantly what they have not bought.
To take full advantage of the personalised mobile Scan it Buy it technology the retailer will need to invest in technologies that will allow them to track the customers activities in parallel. Technologies that will allow them to measure, monitor and quantify TRUST and REPUTATION.
The question the retailer then faces is measuring the cost of implementing these parallel technologies against the potential losses they would make by employing a “Free” trust based system.
The other question of course is the potential losses and/or the cost of implementing the parallel technologies. Would they be more expensive than any potential cost savings and productivity gains that could be made by allowing customers to self-serve using mobile check-out technology?
AisleBuyer represents yet another aspect of the exciting future of mobile retailing. However as a technology it is best understood as a niche “island” solution within a very complex value chain and ecosystem. Therefore its full potential for retailers will only be realised once it is plugged into other technologies to create a comprehensive end to end retail solution.
You only have to consider who the “Check Out” competition is (e.g. NCR and IBM) to understand how big the opportunity is – and how large the barrier to entry are – for AisleBuyer to disrupt this space. That’s what makes the iPhone – and Apps like AisleBuyer – the “Adjacent Possible” for retail advertisers and marketeers today.