Growing numbers of retailers are using Microsoft’s Kinect for Windows sensor to transform customer engagement, personalise shopping experiences and offer more information about individual products.
A range of such solutions were showcased at the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention and Expo 2014, which has taken place this week in New York. Below is a brief summary of three of the best:
NEC Corporation of America
NEC Corporation of America demonstrated a ‘smart shelf’ application that optimises valuable retail space by tailoring text on digital signage to fit individual shoppers. The Kinect for Windows identifies shoppers who stop at the display and uses analytics to determine consumer attributes as age, gender and level of engagement. Data captured by the Kinect is then delivered to a dashboard where it can be further mined for business intelligence.
Allen Ganz, a senior account development manager at NEC, said: “The solution provides unprecedented actionable insights for retailers and brands at the point-of-purchase decision.”
Razorfish showcased a scenario in which potential customers are involved in a Kinect-driven beach soccer game. In this instance, a customer assumes the role of striker and, using the Kinect for Windows sensor to capture their body movements, tries to score goals against another customer who is playing as goalkeeper. Successful customers accumulate points, which can then be redeemed for real beverages from a connected vending machine.
The company also demonstrated a scenario, which is designed for customers in a surf shop to customise their own surfboard using a Microsoft Surface. A Kinect-enabled digital signage application then captures images of the customised board against the background of one of the world’s top beaches. The image is printed as a postcard, while a second copy is e-mailed to the customer to create an immersive experience that is personal, mobile and social.
“Kinect enables consumers to directly interact personally with a brand, resulting in a greater sense of brand loyalty,” said Corey Schuman, a senior technical architect at Razorfish.
Personalised interactive marketing solutions provider FaceCake has developed Swivel, an application that enables shoppers to try on clothes and accessories via a virtual dressing room. After capturing their image using the Kinect for Windows sensor, the shopper can then select items from a photo display of clothing and accessories, while the application displays the shopper ‘wearing’ the selected items. The screen can also be split to compare different outfit options.
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