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.
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.
In 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.
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.
We're digging #MetMIRAGE, a 360-degree immersive 3D projection mapping experience at Metropolis at Metrotown in Vancouver. It's the latest work from Adrian Scott and the team at Go2 Productions, which we've used for a couple of award-winning 3D projection experiences.
Scott tells me his team developed an entirely new system for MetMIRAGE that automates much of the installation, and allows for live monitoring just in case there's a need to troubleshoot anything. A camera also captures images of people at certain points in the experience, and an iPad at the end enables them to upload the photo to their social platforms.
Check it out if you happen to be in Vancouver before the end of August. In the meantime, get the inside scoop on the LoopNet, Seagate and other cool 3D projection experiences below:
What do you want the world to be like when you retire? This Swedish pension firm created this interactive experience that enables you to toggle two versions of life 30 years from now to show how sustainability pays off—for the planet and your financial picture.
These intelligent digital billboards pull in data gathered from social media, traffic updates and weather information to provide tips on getting the best photos to New York City tourists and amateur photographers.
Digital signs developed with DreamWorks Animation enables shoppers at Piccadilly Circus to use their mobile phones to personalize and visualize custom scarves, and display them on a giant screen for all to see before placing a purchase.
Online media planning and optimization solutions provider Marketing Evolution developed this robot that was able to identify attendees at this year’s Association of National Advertisers conference on sight – and engage in conversation about their media plans based on their past spend.
Cult '80s film 'Never-ending Story' inspires this site, which is “powered' by dream data” from five sleeping volunteers in a very abstract effort to highlight this non-profit organization’s efforts to improve the lives of children.
Five different living billboards featured encasements with live bacteria on affixed strips to keep them in place. Over time, the bacteria fed off the environment inside the encasements, and started go grow, forming one of five unique statements to educate consumers about how to avoid becoming ill due to household bacteria. So creepy, it’s (literally) infectious.
You either love the voice that comes out of your GPS navigation device, or hate it. Either way, this app automatically switches to a child’s voice when providing turn-by-turn instructions through areas where there are likely to be kids around, in an effort to cue drivers to drive more cautiously.
It’s (almost) enough to make you love retargeting: This year, online display ads for 3M's Post-It brand sticky notes have proven just that—sticky—by enabling consumers to write themselves notes, reminders and to-do lists right inside the ad units. Through the magic of retargeting—technologies that deliver that same ad to you wherever you go around the Internets, usually to your chagrin—your virtual Post-Its re-appear everywhere you go.
This summer, Netflix came up with an innovative way to promote its 'Sense8' online series, which about eight random people who find themselves connected telepathically. It’s approach? Using brainwaves from eight viewers to create a musical symphony.
Out to demonstrate how quick and transparent its auto price evaluations are, Taiwan-based used car dealer Kagulu rolled out a truck outfitted with cameras and databases to scans cars on the streets and display its value instantly.
Call it "23AndThee": This past Earth Day, Hong Kong-based NGO Cleanup launched a billboard and bus signage campaign in an effort to get people to clean up after themselves in city known for more than its share of litter. DNA evidence on discarded chewing gum, cigarette butts and even a condom was used to by forensic scientists to predict the eye, hair and skin color, as well as the face shape, of litters – and a total of 27 different profiles were established, and then displayed for all to see. Nothing like shame—and the fear of it—to shape behavior!