An elegant solution to the online in store divide.


The instore online divide needs a bridge.  Apple are engineering a beautifully complex solution in the form of iBeacon, though there is some disquiet that the sensors inside mannequins are just a little too Orwellian for words.  However, as customers wonder close to sensors the mobile phone in their pocket communicates about the shoes or the coat or the handbag close by.

The first important rule of marketing is that the customer should choose to interact.  The days of doorstep hawking and cold call telephones should stay in the past where it belongs.  Spamming through email is soon to become illegal in some points in the world and the right of privacy for the consumer is uppermost.

How to interact without intruding

This means that beacon technologies that intrude into the customers’ day might be seen as undesirable.  It is better to encourage them to interact and share details with you, than it is to impose your interaction on them.

Sometimes a solution does not have to be complicated to be seen as successful.  Sometimes there is a simple way of encouraging interaction at the point of sale.  By encouraging the shopper to tap their phone against a disk, you have the power of beacon technology but you have shown the courtesy that is seen as so crucial.

What sort of businesses could benefit from this Tapnfeel technology?  Imagine in a supermarket that there were 8 different brands of milk.  How could a dairy make their product stand out in this field?  Imagine in a boutique store, selling high end luxury products with a long sale tail.  How helpful would it be to be able to offer more information, without a sales person leaping on the customer?  Imagine you are a department store and you want to show customers combinations of products that work well together.  How can you encourage more than just one low level purchase?

How to invite the customer into a conversation

These are scenarios where you need to help the customer to find the information that they need.  The tapnfeel disk is an elegant solution to the need to bridge the gap between your two sales channels.  What action you initiate when the customer taps is entirely up to you.  The limits of what the tap will result in is only constrained by your imagination.

It could be that the customer tapped near a game console and the tap showed the customer games reviews and the cables they need to purchase.

It could be that the customer tapped near a loaf of bread and the tap sent them to a website of recipes that could use the bread in interesting ways.

It could be that the customer tapped near a coat and the tap offered them a voucher to get a discount of a bag that matched the coat.

It could be that the customer tapped near a brand of crisps and the tap sends them to the page where there is a competition designed to engage the customer with the brand.

There are so many options and all you need to do is entice them to tap on a disk in a shop, near to where your product is displayed.  But, this simple click could be the start of something much bigger.


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