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.

Get the inside scoop, here.

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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."

Get the inside scoop, here.

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3D Immersive Projection Mapping Art Installation #MetMIRAGE (Video)

 

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:

Southwest Airlines Launch & Genie Telehandler Launch

Highlights Reel from Go2 Productions

LoopNet Launch

Seagate Brand Relaunch at CES

How could your brand be using 3D projection mapping?

 

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15 MOST INNOVATIVE AD CAMPAIGNS OF 2015

 

GenWowAwards-2015Call them "The Fab 15"—fifteen of the most innovative advertising initiatives of 2015.

That is, fifteen that aren't otherwise captured in our "10 Best" lists in Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Brand Pranks and Brand Viral Videos.

Fifteen that, it's worth noting, feature mostly—though not exclusively—physical-world experiences that do not require consumers to interface with mobile devices.

And fifteen out of countless other notable efforts worth celebrating this year.

But hey, fifteen had a good ring to it.

Plus it's our list, so we're picking favorites—and we think you'll dig them, too.

15. LOWE'S: 'HOW-TO' WINDOW DISPLAYS

The home improvement retailer brings 3D, stop-motion style versions of its popular "Fix it in Six" series of "how-to" Vine videos to store window displays, complete with "Like" buttons. We do.

14. SPP: 'EARTH 2045'

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.

13. CANNON: SMART BILLBOARDS

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.

12. COCA-COLA: 'WISH IN A BOTTLE'

Next year we may have to dedicate a "Best of" list to drone-vertising. Until then, crack open a bottle of Coca-Cola, and share some happiness as these drones shoot fireworks to light up the night sky.

11. BURBERRY: CUSTOMIZABLE SCARVES

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.

10. MARKETING EVOLUTION: 'MONICA'

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.

9. REACH FOR CHANGE: 'NEVER-ENDING STORY' DREAM-POWERED SITE

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.

8. LEXUS: 'ORIGAMI LEXUS'

It’s 3D printed car. Made out of cardboard. That you can drive. Need we say more?

7. NETHERLANDS NUTRITION CENTRE: 'LIVING BILLBOARDS'

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.

6. IF INSURANCE: 'SLOW DOWN GPS' APP

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.

5. POST-IT: A BANNER AD YOU'LL ACTUALLY LOVE

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.

4. NETFLIX: 'BRAINWAVE SYMPHONY'

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.

3. VERIZON: MINECRAFT IN-GAME MOBILE PHONE

What easier (or, at least cooler) way to take selfies and order real-world pizza while you’re playing Minecraft?

2. KAGULA: ROVING PRICE TRUCK

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.

1. CLEANUP HONG KONG: 'THE FACE OF LITTER'

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!

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