Packages are great at talking, but not great at listening, this is going to change soon.

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We hear their voices as we wander around the busy aisles of Target or the hushed showrooms at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Some yelling free offers, some singing free-range, some promising free radicals, and some whispering sugar free . . . they speak to us with a barrage of messages for beauty, convenience, comfort, flavor . . . all with one goal. Take me home.

And once home most continue to yell, and sing, and promise, and whisper from behind our pantry walls and vanity doors with the same level of intensity that they did in the retail environment. I have long thought it would be great if all packages could magically transform themselves into well-behaved family members when they get home, but that’s the subject of another post.  

This post is about conversations, and conversations require both listening and talking. As we know packages, and the retail environments they occupy, are not great at listening . . . at least not yet. 

This is about to change, and change big time in the next couple years, and probably in two steps. Let me explain each of these and how they are occurring. 

Step One
The first step in the conversation is taking place with your mobile device. We can now walk through a store and ask our phones questions like, “Do these chips have too much salt for me?”, or “What’s the best price for this camera?”, or “Will this cleanser scratch my granite counters?”. 

We know that shoppers are increasingly using their mobile device while shopping, and research already suggests that people are pretty serious when they do. Today 70% of mobile queries turn into sales within an hour. So surely the same intelligence that Siri exhibits on an iPhone will lead to more intelligent conversations about products and packages with your mobile device at retail.

Step Two
As we know, retailers and brands like to manage the conversation. So now that Step One is in place, they will quickly want to influence the in-store conversation by both listening and talking. And they will do this by activating their stores and products, with the same “Siri like” intelligent ability to interact and answer our questions as we wander through the aisles. Just look at the technology filled Amazon Go store. I am not a technologist, so don’t ask me exactly what form this may take. But this is a conversation that will happen sooner than you think!

Devon Luxmore-Rousset