Jack Uldrich
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Tesco Jumps the Curve

Posted in Retail/Marketing


Tesco, one of the most innovative retailers, is at it again. Yesterday, the company announced it would be deploying “MediaCarts”—grocery carts which can sense their location in the store and trigger advertisements for nearby products—at a store in Singapore.

It would be easy to think that the technology will just be employed for advertising purposes but that is only a small part of Tesco’s plan. (In fact, if the company just plans to use it for advertising the technology will likely fail.) Rather, my hunch is that Tesco plans to use the carts to dramatically increase sales by using them to engage customers in “swarm shopping.” Swarm shopping is the practice of providing consumers with information about other shopper’s behavior.

If you have ever purchased a book on Amazon.com you have been the recipient of this practice when the computers tells you that “if you bought X then you might be also interested in Y.”

The MediaCart will operate on the same principle only it will “read” what you have already put in your cart and then try to encourage you buy other additional items which other people with a similar mix also purchased.

Think it won’t work? Perhaps, but 40 percent of all purchases are “impulse pruchases.” Often, a little nudge can go a long way.

If other retailers want to “jump the curve” and increase sales, it would behoove them to explore this technology.

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Jack Uldrich is a writer, futurist, public speaker and host of jumpthecurve.net. He is the author of seven books, including Jump the Curve and The Next Big Thing is Really Small: How Nanotechnology Will Change the Future of Your Business. He is also a frequent speaker on future technology and future trends, nanotechnology, robotics, RFID, innovation, change management and executive leadership to a variety of businesses, industries and non-profit organizations and trade associations.

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