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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

CES: Retail Shopping Technology

By Kurt Scherf, Contributor

One final category to reference are technologies that are changing the way in which the relationship among retailers, consumer electronics manufacturers, and consumers are changing. There has been much written about how “showcasing” is cutting into brick-and-mortar retail sales because consumers may go to a store like Best Buy and look at the latest technology, but actually purchase the product online, where the price is cheaper and where sales tax may not be applied.

I found it interesting that a company like PrimeSense – which has been involved in the technology behind gesture recognition and what it calls “3D Sensing” (like the Xbox Kinect technology) – showcased a technology with a company called Shopperception. The demonstration showed how the technology can be used to evaluate how shoppers interact with products on store shelves and report on important factors at the point-of-purchase. It creates reports on how events in front of the shelf are related to the brand’s most important questions like hot activity zones in shelves, traffic flow analysis and even how much time it takes shoppers to pick up products.

Hailing from Iowa, I was interested to see how John Jackovin, the CEO of a Des Moines-based company called Bawte (pronounced “bought”) fared at his first CES. John’s company has developed a mobile app that aids the consumer electronics product registration process by automating a lot of the work (no more filling out those clumsy postcards) by linking the information to sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The technology also has the benefit of reporting what a customer purchased on social networking sites, and this can serve as brand promotion. John provided a daily recap of his CES experience in The Des Moines Register and an article in Silicon Prairie News.

Kurt Scherf, Contributor, has attended 13 out of the last 14 Consumer Electronics Shows in Las Vegas and tracked the news and developments remotely this year. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the 2013 CES was the largest in terms of physical space (1.92 million square feet), with attendance of more than 150,000, with 35,000 people from 170 countries outside the U.S. While plenty of column space was dedicated to the companies that weren’t in attendance in an official capacity (Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Research In Motion, to name a few), there is always enough excitement in the new year about consumer electronics developments to cover.  

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