I recently had to do some grocery shopping for a friend and her family and it ended up being a pretty tedious and lengthy process. Why? Everything had to be organic and her daughter is allergic to dairy. Not to mention the expired potatoes I realized were in my cart when I finally made it to the checkout lane. As I was shopping, I found myself thinking: “Wouldn’t it be nice if someone could follow me around and tell me if there is milk in this bread, these apples are not organic, or these potatoes are expired?” Enter: The Smarter Cart. This thing is pretty cool and I want it in my neighborhood grocery store as soon as possible!
The Smarter Cart is powered by Microsoft Kinect and does some pretty amazing things. Here’s the shortlist: The cart will follow you around the store, help you navigate the aisles, check items off your list as you scan them along the bottom of your cart, monitor for incorrect purchases (i.e. non-organic foods), food allergies, and, yes, expiration dates, and finally, it will check you out right there from your cart! No more pushing shopping carts, while holding your list and trying to figure out what aisle the rice is in, no more taking home baking soda when you needed baking powder, no more expired food, and goodbye lines! Grocery shopping done easy.
Now, as with all new technology, I am sure there are kinks to work out, and not all consumers will embrace it at first, but as soon as they realize how much easier it will make their grocery shopping trips, they will want nothing less. I, for one, hope it shows up in my neighborhood very soon.
Ever notice how random things look like they have faces? Like this:
There are a few Tumblr blogs that pay homage to these occurrences of anthropomorphism and now that I’ve pointed it out, you’ll probably start noticing these faces everywhere. You’re welcome.
Jumping on this micro-trend, Nike just released an app for Nike Free shoes in Japan called Nike Free Face, where users can bend and twist the Nike shoe to match their face. Leveraging facial and expression recognition technology, it photographs the users’ contorted face through a webcam and matches their face to the shoe’s form.
The app does an amazing job of highlighting features of the products—the flexibility of the shoe and the ability to personalize it—in a subtle and engaging way. On top of showcasing product features, the app gets people thinking about the shoe differently, positioning them not only as a utility product, but also as an expression of self.
These kinds of interactive opportunities that present products through a different lens are a clever approach for legacy brands like Nike to ensure they stay relevant and fresh. But more importantly, Nike’s Free Face app is fun, silly and shows that the brand doesn’t take itself too seriously. Allowing consumers to play with a product and have fun with it are the kind of online experiences that people remember and talk about.
Just think, when was the last time you had this much fun with a shoe?
Introducing You to Your Biggest Advocates
It doesn’t usually (or arguably ever) make sense to say everyone is your target, because like we have all heard many times in one form or another: you can’t be everything to everyone, and if you try to be, failure is likely. Instead, you should want to answer this question: Who are my best customers? The answer: Yes, those who spend the most with you and/or are the most frequent purchasers of your brand are some of your best customers, but it goes beyond that. They are also the people who share your brand’s values, those who feel they are getting the experience they want and need from your brand, and those who are most likely to tell others about you. In fact, some of these people may not currently engage with your brand. Segmentation can help you change that.
A well-crafted segmentation will tell you many things about your biggest advocates, including:
And what can come out of knowing all of this?And what do happy customers do? They shop more, they talk more, and they improve business (increased sales, anyone?).
So, I guess what I am trying to say here is, do a consumer segmentation study for your brand and you shall be rewarded. Don’t do it and you might be able to survive, but you can probably be doing better!