Retail Store Assistant by HP

by Deepak Sharma on Saturday, June 02, 2007

Imagine walking into a retail store and, with the swipe of a card, receiving a printout that includes a personalized shopping list, relevant coupons, notice of associated store discounts or sales, and even a map to where the items can be found in the store. HP recently showed off the Retail Store Assistant, an experimental system designed to enhance the consumer shopping experience and improve efficiency for retailers by bringing the power of online access to brick-and-mortar stores.

Developed by HP Labs, the Retail Store Assistant includes an in-store kiosk, which customers can access with a loyalty card or by typing in their phone number, that is linked to a retailer’s IT system, which contains inventory, sales and customer purchase information.
By better connecting consumer and store data, the system works to the advantage of both customers and retailers. For example, if a grocery store detected that a customer bought yogurt every time it went on sale, it might offer that individual the sale price every time he or she went to the store. Or, if the grocery store determined it had an excess inventory of onions, it might give shoppers a recipe for onion soup, note that onions were on sale and point out where to find them.
The personalization provided by the Retail Store Assistant makes for a better shopping experience and is key to closing what retailers call the “intention-action gap.”
“Instead of sending consumers advertising and coupons and hoping they’ll come in to buy, it’s better to reach them when they’re actually in the store – they’re more likely to make the purchase,” said Mohamed Dekhil, manager of retail applications in the Digital Imaging and Printing Lab at HP Labs, the company’s central research facility. “Besides, about 99 percent of all junk mail is thrown out because it doesn’t offer anything people want. The Retail Store Assistant provides consumers information only about things they really care about.”

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