Tapping the Smartphone for Interactive Window Shopping

Creating an interactive digital window display that can connect with smartphones of consumers walking by can be more complicated than it looks.

A while back, Adidas created a pilot interactive display at a storefront in Germany. Last week, the people involved in creating and monitoring it presented their findings during the Digital Signage Expo in Last Vegas.

The idea was to transform store windows into real-time shopping screens, so consumers could interact both during and after hours of operation of the store.

A smartphone shopper would see a PIN on the store window and once entered the phone would be linked to the screen content. The consumer then could move items on the window with their phone, drag and drop items into their shopping basket and purchase via their phone.

Most interesting in the pilot is what Adidas learned around consumer behavior and technology deployment.

“Whatever you think is intuitive is not,” said Stefanie Seufert, consumer experience manager, global retail environments at Adidas.

For example, she said passersby were reluctant to touch the window because many people grew up being told by their parents not to touch things like store windows, making it initially unnatural for them to touch the digital display.

To get around this, the team added a picture of a hand, a small innovation that quickly let a consumer know that it was expected that they would use their hand.

Then they added a photo of a phone with a browser address to type, which helped shoppers get the idea.

The concept was to create an e-commerce experience right to the window, using smartphones. The Adidas presenters said the idea conceptually was to merge the storefront and the Web store.

Other things the Adidas team observed and learned:

  • People would not download and use an app to interact with the window display
  • For speed, they used no new technology, only new combinations of existing technologies
  • Adidas created what Seufert referred to as “a seamless drag and drop experience on all smartphones” that allowed consumers to buy from their phones as they stood in front of the window
  • The focus was to transfer the shopping basket experience to the phone, not invent a new e-commerce experience
  • 25% of those who touched the screen walked into the store after

The presentation ended with indications that there would be more of this type of interactive store window displays this year from companies beyond Adidas.

Perhaps coming to a store window near you.

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2 comments about "Tapping the Smartphone for Interactive Window Shopping".
  1. Carissa Ganelli from LightningBuy , February 17, 2014 at 3:32 p.m.
    Very interesting findings. The most telling: "People would not download and use an app to interact with the window display". Like with mobile wallets, there needs to be some incentive that consumers value to get the to change behavior. The cool factor is only sufficient for the gear heads and true early adopters. I experienced Kate Spade's "shoppable window" in NY last summer. Interesting. But when everyone standing on the street behind you can see the credit card number and your address when you enter it onto the giant display window, to say that security is a concern would be an understatement. As with any new technology, there are plenty of kinks to work out but new ways to buy are being innovated everyday.
  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin , February 17, 2014 at 3:43 p.m.
    Thanks, Carissa, good points about behavior. To clarify, purchases via the Adidas window display were transferred to be executed exclusively on the smartphones, not on the window displays, which as yiou point out, would be a bit awkward at best.