Retailer Urban Outfitters had its first ever annual analyst day today.
You can listen to the whole presentation here, but about halfway through CIO Calvin Hollinger makes some interesting comments about the future of point-of-sales systems in retail.
Specifically, the company is going all Apple devices for its stores. Sales people will have iPod touches, and cash registers are being phased out in favor of iPads on a swivel.
In fact, he says: “Two or three weeks ago, we placed our very last register order… once we make sure this ipad works.. all stores will be equipped with iPod touches and iPads.”
iPads, he explained, cost about 1/5th as much as a cash register, and can be used for so much. As shown in the picture, they can be turned towards the customer, who can view content, put in personal information, use it as a gift registry and so forth.
What’s more, it makes a lot more sense from a space usage standpoint. An iPad on a swivel that’s not in use can quickly be taken off, with that space being used for packing or more merchandising or anything else.
Gesture control as we know it is rudimentary at best. But a new San Francisco startup called Leap Motion has just announced a new 3D motion control system that its claims is 200 times more accurate than anything else on the market—and it’s set to cost just $70.
CNET reports that Leap Motion’s technology uses a small USB input device—though the company doesn’t reveal what kinds of sensors it uses—and some sophisticated software in order to provide accuracy of around a hundredth of a millimeter. That means that their gesture control system can handle touch-style gestures, like pinch-to-zoom. Leap Motion plans to launch the device early next year.
The device monitors a space four cubic feet in size, and can deftly track individual finger tips, the whole hand, or inanimate objects. It’s well worth watching the video to get a feel for how it works—because it’s really impressive. In particular, the gestures we’ve come to expect on touch-screen devices look incredibly smooth.
It’s immediately obvious that there are some applications that it would be well suited to—for, say, the likes of surgeons or engineers—but at $70 it will no doubt land in a lot of homes. Including mine. Michael Buckwald, Leap Motion CEO, explained to CNET:
“We want there to be world-changing applications that fundamentally transform how people interact with their operating system or browse the Web…. The goal is to fundamentally transform how people interact with computers and to do so in the same way that the mouse did, which means that the transformation affects everyone, both from the most basic use case all the way up to the most advanced use cases you can imagine for computing technology.”
While Kinect piqued the world’s interest in gesture control, it’s always been relatively clunky. Whether it’s Leap Motion or some other manufacturer that finally releases a fine-grained system to market, at least this evidence suggests that it won’t be long before it’s actually useful. [CNET]
PepsiCo’s plan to increase profit margins for its Tropicana orange juice is simple: Just add water. Apparently some consumers are already doing that on their own, in order to get a less-thick or lower-calorie beverage. “They themselves add water before drinking OJ,” a PepsiCo exec tells Bloomberg. “So why not add the water ourselves and charge for it?” Tropicana lost market share to Coca-Cola Co.’s Minute Maid and Simply Orange brands after PepsiCo repackaged its juice three years ago.
Now, instead of continuing to compete in the 100% juice category, PepsiCo will focus on different products with higher profit margins. One such product—Trop50, which contains 42% orange juice and uses a low-calorie stevia-based sweetener—has already been successful. Says the exec, “We have lost perspective here on the primary reason we are in business, which is to make money.” Consumers will always know what they’re getting, thanks to strict FDA juice labeling guidelines.
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Amazon just kicked off a new TV campaign for the Kindle Fire, which it doubtless hopes will further dent sales of Apple’s iPad. But Kindle has a long way to go before it starts threatening the iPad as a device for serving online ads to consumers.
Data from Rimm-Kaufmann Group, an online marketing agency, show that the iPad maintains its total dominance of the tablet market when it comes to ad traffic. Kindle is slowly making progress, but it only has 3.48 percent of the market to iPad’s 88.1 percent.
iPad had a 93.44 percent share of the market late last year, so share is being traded quickly in this category.
With iPad 3 on the way, even those small gains for Kindle may be in jeopardy.
When it comes to ad performance, the iPad also has a significant edge. If you index the data to the average ad displayed on a desktop computer, ads on iPad get 10 percent more revenue per click, the same level of overall clicks, and a greater average order value.
All the other tablets, including Kindle, perform much worse than ads displayed on PCs.
iPad dominates ad traffic on tablets, but its dominance is slipping.
The Kindle is gaining share of ad traffic the fastest against the iPad.
But the iPad is still the most effective tablet device by far, for advertisers.
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Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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