If only these walls could talk, the saying goes. In the case of the N building near Tachikawa station in Japan they do. In fact the whole building facade has been transformed into a real time dialogue between smart phones and what’s going on inside the store. All you do is hold your phone up to the walls and the constantly changing QR codes tell you what’s going on inside. You can also browse shop information, make reservations and download coupons.
Such QR code wallscapes are the next iteration of an increasingly sophisticated ongoing dialogue emerging between customers, stores and products. Marry this with the fact that more stores are accepting virtual currencies in exchange for real products (South Korea – yes, China – no) and mobile payments (see Starbucks) and the future of retail looks very different from today.
So just for fun, let’s imagine what this future might look like:
Imagine cities in which almost every retail wall surface is engaged in tailor-made, real time discussion with the customers walking nearby.
Imagine customers instinctively checking in throughout their day to earn points that can be traded for real world products or to receive coupons/offers specific to where they are. (For more on digital coupons see Stowe Boyd here.)
Imagine cities populated by geo-tagged digital information that reveals floating, real-time augmented reality advertisements viewed through smart phones? (There’s an overview of recent AR applications here.)
Imagine billboards that watch you shop and make targeted suggestions based on your age, location and past buying habits.
Scary stuff perhaps but this could change retail marketing in several ways: