TOP
STORIES
 1 of 5
Top 25 Bars to Watch College or Pro Football
Check out CI's list of the best tech-packed sports bars to watch the 2014 college football or NFL season.
 2 of 5
Go Inside a Doomsday Survival Luxury Condo
In this first edition of Flashback Friday, go deep within a 1960s missile silo to this doomsday-ready condo community complete with audio, video and iPad-friendly Crestron automation.
 3 of 5
17-Foot Projection Screen at Heart of Company's Collaboration Strategy
Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. embraces collaboration in ambitious technology renovation of a historic Boston building.
 4 of 5
Inside the Installation: 'BioWall' is Outdoor HD Masterpiece
United Therapeutics’ BioWall is a 16' by 9' state of the art HD video wall designed to relax, educate, and inspire passersby 24 hours a day.
 5 of 5
University of Oregon Builds Football Performance Center for Champions
With stunning AV systems installed by CompView Audio Visual, this school's new athletic center is unlike any other.
The Curious Lack of Technology in the Retail Market
Why aren't more retailers using technology to draw potential customers inside their stores?

Article


Build-A-Bear Workshop does a great job using technology to create digital engagement around a toy that over 133 years old.
January 22, 2013 | by Mark Coxon

There is a lot of buzz about the future use of retail technology to promote and drive product sales. But it’s funny that some of the most innovative uses of technology in retail are associated with a store that sells a toy that is over 133 years old.

Build-A-Bear Workshop uses touch technology in multiple locations in its stores to help customers build their new best friend, as well as optical tagging on duck and boat toys in digital bathtubs, and optical tag-based X-ray windows to see inside the newly created teddy bears. They do a great job of creating digital engagement around a toy that, let’s face it, is old news.

If Build-A-Bear can take technology and transform the sale of a toy invented in the 1880s, why aren’t other more contemporary companies taking larger steps? “Where have all the cowboys gone?”

Photos: Build-A-Bear Workshop’s Digital Signage All Grown Up

Orange County, Calif. has an upscale mall called South Coast Plaza. It’s just south of the entertainment capital of the world, and home to quite a few well-to-do individuals. The retailers range from ones I’ve never heard of and could never afford to mall staples, including the Apple Store.

Yet somehow, very few have employed technology to engage customers, beyond playing a music video on a screen wall, or making a flat panel into a phone and playing an app commercial on it in the window.

Click image to subscribe

Sure, there are a few outposts that have been set up.  Microsoft took Apple’s Lightbox signage idea and upped the ante with over 100 screens in a 2 by “x” screen wall that wraps the store.  Tourneau, a watch retailer, has a small display that employs a Peppers Ghost to “float” a Bentley video over a Breitling watch made especially for the automaker.  The Disney Store has acrylic projection trees that display fairies and other Disney staples, adding a touch of magic to the aisles as you walk through.

But there’s nothing that would make you come inside if you weren’t already planning to do so. It’s a sad indicator of what the tight purse strings of the last few years have done to the way companies think about promoting their products.  They have tied not just our wallets, but also our minds.  There will be more dollars going to retail kiosks and Point of Purchase (POP) displays in 2013, which will inevitably drive flat panel and PC sales in the short term, but it will do little to inspire merchandising managers to think bigger.

That is our job.

Retailers have huge amounts of glass and display space at their disposal, and in many cases are paying big bucks for them. This is valuable real estate. And when technology is coupled with an investment and innovative ideas, the sky is the limit on what is possible.

Imagine you walk by Ethan Allen and see a stark white room and furniture. You use window and choose a decorating style, configuring the colors and materials inside the room in real time through the glass. You may find yourself telling everyone you know to go by and try for themselves.

Creating a destination that supersedes the business and the product is a valuable use of technology to drive traffic. Incidentally, more traffic equals more revenues.

So saddle up A/V Buckaroos!  Start having conversations with your clients that go beyond black rectangles and content in an old tin can, and you may just spur retail into a whole new territory.

About the author

Mark Coxon - Sales, Mark
Mark started his technology career at IBM in 2000 before migrating into AV integration in early 2002. He currently works at Horizon Display, an interactive multitouch hardware and software provider. Mark lives in Orange County with Lesley, his wife of 11 years and his 3 children.
View all posts by Mark Coxon
Article Topics
Social Bookmark or Share This
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • Google Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Windows Live
  • LinkedIn
  • Evernote
  • E-mail


  • Latest
  • Blogs
  • Photos
  • Resources



Recent comments

I just want to say I am newbie to blogs and actually enjoyed this site. Very likely I’m planning to bookmark…

Posted by Grigth price pakistan on 2014 09 22 · commented on
'Pakedge Donates $200,000 in Networking Hardware to College'.

Nonetheless, should you be booking this condo short-run while you’re seeking the lasting house, then…

Posted by Thomas Braylen on 2014 09 20 · commented on
'Luxury Apartment Lobby Features 15-Screen Digital Signage System'.

Sorry but the amount of money being spent on football at Oregon is ridiculous. But I could say the same about…

Posted by Brendan on 2014 09 19 · commented on
'University of Oregon Builds Football Performance Center for Champions'.

I go through your blog. The content is very good and informative. we will wait for your future posts. Thanks…

Posted by helpingtimes on 2014 09 18 · commented on
'Cambridge Sound Management Enables Individual Room Sound Masking'.