WeChat's New BingoBox Store: No Checkout, No Cash, No Clerks (Video)

On the heels of our recent post about Amazon Go, it's worth noting this automated convenience stores powered by WeChat. There's no checkout. Instead, customers scan QR codes to enter the store, select products, then pay using their WeChat mobile wallets.

How soon we'll see this sort of thing in the US is anyone's guess, but it can't be that far off.

Indeed, it's actually not tremendously different than using Apple's Store app at Apple locations, where you can walk in, scan an item and walk out.

Except that BingoBox has, you know, junk food. Hard not to love that. 

Read more, here. —Rick Mathieson

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A-ha Gets its AR Moment (Video)

You knew somebody would eventually do it—and from the looks of it, Trixi Studios did it up right.

Using Apple's ARKit, the animation studio emulated the experience of A-ha's famous '80s music video "Take on Me."

According to Vocativ, it took the videographers 16 weeks to rotoscope the frames to create the original, this proof-of-concept app puts you into the video's fantastical world instantly. Check out this info video for more. —Rick Mathieson

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McDonald's Turns Drink Trays into iPhone Boom Boxes (Video)

We're McLovin' this new promotion from Mickey D's, which turns their recyclable drink trays into boom boxes for  your iPhone.

It's not the first time this has been done, of course—Coca-Cola once famously turned a magazine print ad into a speaker system for mobile phones as well. But that doesn't make McDonald's promo any less fun (our loud).

Read more, here.

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Sausage Party: The Dancing Hotdog Snapchat Filter (Video)

We didn't see the dancing hotdog on Snapchat until this last weekend, and we've been having fun with it ever since (see this YouTuber's video above to see what it looks like). Simple and subversive at the same time.

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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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KLM Audio-Enabled, Location-Aware Luggage Tags Give Travelers Tips About Town (Video)

KLM Airlines is thinking beyond the flight to help visitors to Amsterdam make their way around town.

Its new audio-enabled, location-aware "Care Tag" offers audio tips on things to see and do, based on where you are at any time. What's interesting is it consists of a speaker and an offline GPS module, so there's no telephony or Internet connection required. The voices even come from KLM crew members.

"At KLM we always go the extra mile to give you the best personal service during your flight," the airline says on a special site set up to promote the tags. "And now we are also looking after you during your stay. With the Care Tag, it feels like our crew is always with you to help you around."

Indeed, it's a perfect example of a travel brand using digital, data-based technology to extend the brand experience in a unique and compelling way.

Learn more here.

 

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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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AR Demo: Landing Falcon 9 in the Pool (Video)

One of the very cool demos floating around the Interwebs showing off Apple's ARKit AR development solution. Here's how IKEA is putting it into action. What's the plan for your brand?

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Gorillaz App Wins Cannes 2017 Gold Lion with VR, AR Experiences (Video)

Gotta love this app. Though as far as this recap video goes, I'm not sure what's better: The app's performance, or the voice talent's accent. Kudos to all involved.

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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.

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