Sunday, October 14, 2012

724E Media Psych/Technology Innovation Game

Using the technology game, I created an Augmented Reality Thermal Camera. In the first circle representing Tech A, I chose a thermal imaging camera. In the second circle representing Tech B, I chose augmented reality. The combination of the two circles resulted in an Augmented Reality Thermal Camera. When adding the third circle to represent the goal of the combination, I decided the camera should be used in brick-and-mortar retail stores.

Unlike online shopping, brick-and-mortar retailers are limited to the amount of information gathered in the store. Using an Augmented Reality Thermal Camera would allow retailers to track consumers while in the store, taking note of their buying habits. Thermal cameras can sense and report traffic within the store using body temperature. For instance, if a consumer chooses specific traffic patterns within the store, it allows the retail owner to know where the hot and cold spots are located. Or rather, where people stop to shop versus just passing through. Coupled with augmented reality, the thermal sensor camera can determine if someone has stopped in front of a rack of clothing or a display of folded sweaters. An augmented reality store clerk would pop up and suggest an item of clothing to match, find a size, or reserve a dressing room. Consumers could also purchase on the spot, compare prices, or watch advertisements.

Retailers and consumers alike would benefit from this creation. Consumers receive an enhanced experience in the store. In real time, consumers could compare prices, purchase and receive live, real time service searching for sizes, dressing rooms, or matching items. “Stores should focus on providing an experience and services that create a sense of extra value in the mind of the shopper” (Davis, 2011). On the other hand, retailers would be able to track consumer buying habits, enabling improved store layout, products and sales.

Retailers are having a difficult time keeping up with online sales, not to mention the negative effect the economy is having on retail stores. While online retail measures sales, advertising, SEO performance and traffic sources, they do not present a positive consumer experience. In contrast, retail stores excel with providing customers with the look, fit, and feel of the product, but they do not effectively measure traffic and store touch points. Combining a way to track shopping and buying habits throughout the store along at point of sale, would benefit retailers with increased future sales.

Marketing this product would be easy to do at retail markets where most clothing boutiques purchase clothing for each season. Store demonstrations would be critical to market the product. Employing a sales team to travel across the US to meet with storeowners to offer in store demonstrations or free trials would be beneficial for owner buy in. Finally, marketing alongside a POS system would be a beneficial relationship. With their relationships in the retail market already built, this relationship would solidify trust in the company.

I believe that the retail experience offers shoppers something that the online world cannot. The online world is still far enough away from offering an experience to the consumer that emulates a sensory experience of the product. “There is a lot of room for improvement in helping consumers go from doing online research to in-store purchases. Only 61 percent of consumers who cross over from one to the other are satisfied with their buying experience, compared to 82 percent for those who end up buying online. Forrester draws the lesson that retailers need to do a better job appealing to online consumers in their physical stores” (Schonfeld, 2010). If retailers can stay in front of the curve with these innovations, then they can track customers to increase sales. Any hindrances would most likely involve cost of product for retailers, development and/or manufacturing.

As a media psychologist, I’m incredibly interested in consumer purchasing habits. Developing an understanding of how and why they purchase and the resulting impact on retail is a fascinating area of study. It would be exciting to develop information to aid retailers with enhancing the shopping experience.


Davis, D. (2011, October 10). Industry Statistics. Retrieved from

Schonfeld, E. (2010, March 8). Tech Crunch. Retrieved from

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