Retailers are getting crazy innovative with their use of technology, taking the shopping experience in exciting new directions. Ten years ago – five, even – who would’ve imagined store changing room mirrors that take full-length snapshots of you that can be sent to friends via social media to get instant feedback on potential clothes? Or who could’ve anticipated an airline partnering with eBay so customers booking a ticket online can see suggestions of household items they could sell to fund said ticket?

Yet that’s what Bonobos and Transavia are now doing, and numerous other companies around the globe are taking on similarly ground-breaking campaigns to engage customers in smoother, more helpful and more interesting purchasing experiences.

Trendwatching.com recently did a round-up of their favourite innovations in the retail sector. We’ve selected a small showcase of campaigns to enlighten you, make you smile, and perhaps inspire new creativity in your own marketing endeavours.

Nike

BwYTwj8CQAAd9FwOne of the most whimsical campaigns of late was Nike’s roaming vending machine, a campaign launched in NYC for the month of July. It involved unique, FuelBox vending machines being dispatched to new locations throughout the city each day, and then the locations of those machines were hinted at via Twitter.

Once you’d figured out the destination, wearers of Nike’s fitness wearable tech, the FuelBand, could go to one of the machines, and if your FuelBand showed that you’d accumulated enough exercise points over the past 24 hours the machine would give you a Nike product in reward, such as a cap or t-shirt. Love it!

Koken Met Aanbiedingen

Koken Met Aanbiedingen is Dutch for Cooking with Offers. A truly useful innovation, this is a free mobile app that daily suggests recipes that make use of ingredients on sale in prominent supermarkets. Each recipe makes use of at least one of the day’s sale items, if not more. The app also keeps track of the amount of money you are saving if you cook according to these recipes.

As of June the app also started partnering with top Dutch food bloggers, who now share their original recipes on the site.

We really can’t say enough good things about this app. Clever, clever, clever!

Rent the Runway

rent-the-runway-1Rent the Runway is a US company that rents designer clothes and accessories. In July they introduced their Unlimited service, which for $75/month allows the customer to receive three designer accessories of choice at a time. The client can then mail items back to the company when they’re done with them (postage is free), after which they will be sent the next item/s on their personal list. There is also the option of buying any item during the rental process. This sort of service is sure to appeal to anyone with a penchant for the high life.

SnapUp

SnapUp is a free mobile app in the US that alerts you when items you want have gone on sale. All the mobile phone user has to do is grab a screenshot of an item they like on a retailer’s site, and then add it to their wish list. SnapUp monitors the prices of your earmarked products on your behalf and the moment a discount is logged the app notifies you of it. Simple.

Klépierre

In March of this year European shopping centre specialist Klépierre – which operates in 13 countries and 40 cities – in partnership with DigitasLBi Labs launched its Inspiration Corridor, a booth into which shoppers step to receive personalised shopping ideas and advice.

Here’s how it works…

The Inspiration Corridor is kitted out with an infra-red Kinect camera that does a body scan of you when you enter the booth to judge your height, age and colour affinity (based on what you’re already wearing) and so suggest suitable apparel in the mall. The suggested items are displayed on the interactive wall screens. If you touch an item, the programme updates its profile of you and accordingly refines its offerings. Furthermore, you can scan the barcode of a new purchase to receive recommendations of items that would complement it. Then, if you like a particular item, you can touch it and it will be synchronised with the shopping list on your mobile phone.

We can’t wait for this one to come to South Africa!