NSCA Conference
TOP
STORIES
 1 of 5
AVI-SPL Creates Cityscape on Theater Stage
Integration pro AVI-SPL transforms the Grand Pavillion Theater at a Florida resort with projection mapping and innovative lighting effects.
 2 of 5
Increased Security Costs Boston Marathon its Innocence
Boston Strong sentiment will be out in full force this year, but so will police, surveillance cameras, and other new security measures.
 3 of 5
Luxury Apartment Lobby Features 15-Screen Digital Signage System
Integrator TVTi works with custom animation firm to create mind-blowing digital signage solution using 4K video for high-rise Chicago apartment complex lobby.
 4 of 5
Jaguars Lure Fans with Massive Scoreboard Renovations
The lowly Jacksonville Jaguars will become the latest team to hold a 'world's largest display' moniker when two 21,700-square-feet Daktronics boards, as well as other LED displays, cover EverBank Field next season.
 5 of 5
Advanced Helps SportsCentre Modernize
Installation at the Canadian SportsCentre studio creates three presentation areas with nearly seamless video walls.
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
Webcast:
4K: There’s More Than Meets The Eye!

Join Kramer Electronics on April 16, 2014 for this free informative webinar which will discuss all of the reasons why UHDTV is a substantial upgrade from 2K. Register now!

White Paper: Introducing: New Rules of Customer Engagement
Webcast: Top Digital Signage Trends of 2014
White Paper: How to Find, Leverage and Manage Contract Workers
White Paper: Integrator’s Opportunity to Redefine Retail Market
White Paper: 2014 CI State of the Industry Report
Webcast: 4th Annual Integration Business Outlook Presented by CI & NSCA
White Paper: 12 Tactics of Highly Effective Audio Coaches
View more papers or webcasts



Recent comments

A good read, Robert. I would like to point out that, like doctors, lawyers almost always either are covered…

Posted by J. Peter Rich, Esq. on 2014 04 16 · commented on
'Avoid Getting Your Mother or Your Business Sued'.

Arlen, the Jaguars haven’t had a blackout since 2009.

Posted by Marty on 2014 04 16 · commented on
'Jaguars Lure Fans with Massive Scoreboard Renovations'.

Welcome to the police state! We should not accept living like this. This increased security only means the…

Posted by Tim Stoffel on 2014 04 15 · commented on
'Increased Security Costs Boston Marathon its Innocence'.

Nice article Robert. As fate would have it my day job (AV integrator) and my night job (formula1blog.com)…

Posted by Todd McCandless on 2014 03 25 · commented on
'Ferrari and IC Realtime Test 720-Degree Surveillance Camera on the Racetrack'.