WeChat's New BingoBox Store: No Checkout, No Cash, No Clerks (Video)

On the heels of our recent post about Amazon Go, it's worth noting this automated convenience stores powered by WeChat. There's no checkout. Instead, customers scan QR codes to enter the store, select products, then pay using their WeChat mobile wallets.

How soon we'll see this sort of thing in the US is anyone's guess, but it can't be that far off.

Indeed, it's actually not tremendously different than using Apple's Store app at Apple locations, where you can walk in, scan an item and walk out.

Except that BingoBox has, you know, junk food. Hard not to love that. 

Read more, here. —Rick Mathieson

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McDonald's Turns Drink Trays into iPhone Boom Boxes (Video)

We're McLovin' this new promotion from Mickey D's, which turns their recyclable drink trays into boom boxes for  your iPhone.

It's not the first time this has been done, of course—Coca-Cola once famously turned a magazine print ad into a speaker system for mobile phones as well. But that doesn't make McDonald's promo any less fun (our loud).

Read more, here.

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Is 'Amazon Go' the Future of Whole Foods? (Video)

Mobile_amazon_go_rick_mathieson_genwow_generationwow As goes Whole Foods, so goes the future of grocery stores?

A lot has been made of Amazon's recent announcement that it will acquire Whole Foods for a whopping $13.7 billion (insert your own "Whole Paycheck" joke here).

Many  have speculated the brand will continue to operate as it has, with enhanced pre-ordering and home delivery. But Amazon may have something far bigger in mind.

As Business Insider recently pointed out, Amazon released a video back in December on a concept it calls 'Amazon Go'.

Here, shoppers use an Amazon Go app to pre-order items in a virtual cart. When they get to the store, they simply walk in, scan the app at a turnstile, pick up the items they want, and walk out the door, without ever digging for cash, writing a check, swiping a card—or ever standing in line.

Using what Amazon calls "Just Walk Out" technology, Amazon Go leverages "deep learning algorithms, computer vision and sensor fusion" to keep track of what you pick up in-store. It'll even know if you put something back, or picked up additional items, and update your order. Everything's automatically charged to your account when you walk out the door.

It's a fascinating and compelling vision. It's also one shared by many others, of course.

It's been well over a decade since I started chatting with Seth Godin, Tom Nicholson and others about the concept—and how elements of it have already been applied for brands such as Prada and Tesco—as showcased in my books, The On-Demand Brand and Branding Unbound.

What I think is especially elegant about Amazon's concept is that it at least appears to remove the need for things like RFID tags to be applied at the item level, and for readers to be set up throughout the store—something that has so far proven costly and impractical. At least from this video, the technology appears to be completely invisible to the customer. The first Go location opened for Amazon employees in Seattle earlier this year.

It'll be a blast to see how the concept develops, and what role if any Whole Foods ultimately plays in its evolution.

However things play out there, it's hard to imagine some version of this concept is not just the future of Whole Foods or even just the grocery category.

It's the future of retailing itself.

Click to learn more about Amazon Go.

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Win Free Beer with Amstel's 'Snatch' AR Game (Video)

It's like Pokémon Go - with beer.

Dutch beer brand Amstel has teamed up with mobile AR treasure hunt app Snatch to give away 10,000 free pints to people who "snatch" and hold onto their prizes for up to six hours.

Oh, and in addition to the free beer, there are 20 bikes at stake—and three trips to Amsterdam.

They had us at "AR" and "beer," but those will work, too. 

Learn more, here.

 

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Coca-Cola Bottles Feature Removable Wristbands for Music Fests (Video)

Check out this new packaging from Coca-Cola, which comes complete with removable wristbands that offer potential entry to music festivals. Talk about having a Coke and a smile.

Read more here.

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'Rings' Video Scares the Living Daylights Out of Shoppers (Video)


Still loving this adverprank promoting 'The Ring' sequel. Fans of the franchise are very familiar with its "First you watch it, then you die" conceit—though this would freak even those without the backstory.  Sure, it's no "Devil's Due" or 'Telekinetic Coffee Shop," but it gets the neck hair bristling just fine.


Top Online Marketing Trends for Holiday 2016 (Conclusion)

Mobileholiday2_flippedQuick: Does the sight of shoppers using their mobile phones in your store spark fear that they're showrooming (looking at your products and looking for better deals online)?

Or does it fill you with holiday cheer, instead?

In part one of this mid-October appearance on the Jim Blasingame Show, I talked about trends in online retail when it comes to mobile.

In part two, the conversation shifts to email, social and search.

And in the conclusion, we look at local search and mobile as part of the SoLoMo (social-local-mobile) trifecta in holiday marketing.

As you'll hear, shoppers who use mobile while inside your store may just spend more money there—quite a bit more, in fact.

Top Online Marketing Trends for Holiday 2016 (Conclusion)

 

(Approx 4-min, 40-sec)

 

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Top Digital Marketing Trends of Summer 2016 (Concl): Marketing & the Internet of Things

Iot_internet_of_things_marketingIn the conclusion of our Summer 2016 digital marketing wrap-up on the Jim Blasingame Show, Jim and I talk marketing and the IoT.

You know we're entering new territory when Amazon is rolling out a Dash button for Mentos.

Jim's show focuses on startups and SMBs, so the discussion speaks to trends through that lens.

As things turned out, Jim and I got so engrossed in our conversation, we never got a chance to talk about what is probably the #1 buzz-generating digital marketing news story of the summer: Pokémon GO.

In the end, we decided to save that for another show, and perhaps that's for the better.

Even as word spreads that the game may not have as much GO in it as some thought (and with even Target appropriating its most conspicuous icon these days) the game's larger lessons for marketing in the age of augmented reality may be better absorbed with a little more distance from Pikachu's big moment.

Besides, we don't want it to completely overshadow some of the other major trends from the summer that was. 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: Top Digital Marketing Trends of Summer 2016 (Conclusion)

(Approx. 4-min, 19-sec)

PLUS—don't miss the rest of this series:

Top Digital Marketing Trends of Summer 2016 (Pt 2) >>

Top Digital Marketing Trends of Summer 2016 (Pt 1) >>

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The IoT at Retail: A Look at the Store of the Future (Video)

A look at some of the ways retailers are using the IoT to supercharge the in-store experience. You can read a lot more about this topic in my books BRANDING UNBOUND and THE ON-DEMAND BRAND. Just saying.

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'Let's Be Evil' Trailer: Tech Gone Bad? (Video)

 

Another day, another dystopian vision for a future, this time from the POV of "Glassholes."

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