Is This The Future Of Retailing?

March 12, 2012, 10:56 am KBB Staff Yahoo7

The evolution of window shopping - Sportsgirl are one of a few companies using billboard shopping.

Is This The Future Of Retailing?

Window shopping now has a more practical definition thanks to interactive new billboards from Sportsgirl. The Aussie female fashion retailer has rolled out signage across the front of its Paddington and Chapel St stores that allows shoppers to make purchases without even entering the store.

The billboards harness Quick Response Code (QR code) technology that allows special barcodes to be scanned which then direct devices to specific web sites. Thanks to the tech revolution, everyone with a smartphone now has a QR code reader in their pocket.

Translated to Sportsgirl’s application, each item advertised on their billboards has a QR code that directs shoppers to the store’s mobile site where they’re prompted to complete payment. Until they figure out how to teleport the merchandise through the phone, the order‘s then delivered to your home address.

The fancy new billboards effectively marry online and offline shopping in a weird virtual store.

“An interactive billboard is a very interesting idea because it gets people to engage in the brand even though they are not in the store or at their PC,” Mr Ogden-Barnes, retail industry fellow at the Deakin graduate school of business, says.

“If you are walking past and you see something you like the look of, whether it is limited promotion, or like with Catch of the Day where quantities are running out, you could tailor it to your impulse buyer.” Sounds dangerous girls.

Prue Thomas, Sportsgirl strategic brand manager, says of the coming up with the initiative “Two years ago we built an online community inviting our girls to put forward their thoughts. What we found was that m-commerce was a huge opportunity for us.
That is how our girls are communicating and that’s how they wanted to on the go.”

Sportsgirl is in the process of fitting their new billboards to stores across the country, allowing 24hr shopping 7 days a week. The products advertised are updated weekly to keep them tempting, and also to fit in with deliveries made to stores.

The technology certainly adds a new element to the argument over the need for a bricks’n’mortar store these days, or whether to operate purely online. This model is taking the best of both sides – having a physical presence but without the costs of staffing and rent, while operating solely through online.

In case you’re wondering, QR Code technology’s nothing new. It’s just the innovative use that’s original. The technology was actually developed by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave back in 1994 to track vehicles during the manufacturing process.

Another case of good technology being adapted for different uses.

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