In-Store and Online Shopping Experiences Merge

About 70% of online users regularly make purchases online. However, even though online sales are growing, they still only account for about 5% of total retail sales.
online shopping
This is because most people still like shopping in stores. Whether it’s because they still want to see and touch products in real like, or they want to speak to a sales person before making a major purchase, consumers want the in-store experience, but with the benefits of online shopping, with price comparison, product information and reviews and product customization.
online shopping vs. in-store shopping
The “digital store” is a proposed solution that will fill the gap between online and offline shopping. Whereas most bookstores are being shut down or constantly struggling, Barnes & Nobel has brought digital technolgies into their stores, placing large digital kiosks in store engryways where cusotmers can get books for their Nooks. The compromise seems to have worked. Oakely is another retailer who has installed kiosks to allow customers to easy customize sunglasses and goggles with an interactive app, then ordering and haing them shipped to their home or delivered to the store for pickup.
instore shopping mimics online shopping
Walmart is also stepping up, offering scannable barcodes that will provide product reviews, information and offers to smartphone users. Walmart now has apps for iPhone, iPad and Android users in a n effort to bring digital technologies in-store.
retail shopping
Target had ins-store QR codes for toys this holiday season. Scanning the codes would allow shoppers to scan and purchase the product, complete with free shipping, even if it was sold out in store. Target sees this service as a way for parents to shop with kids, allowing them to buy toys without having to try to hide them in the cart.
However, doesn’t it seem that many of the “resources” the brick-and-mortar stores are beginning to offer really only serve as gimmicks? It seems like the real reasons for an in-store experience are not being enhanced by any of the digital enhancements being rolled out. For example, Walmart’s new scannable barcodes really just make it a little easier to look the item up online–which you could just as easily do from home. This only works well if the consumer was contemplating postponing the purchase until he had gone home and checked reviews online, which in all honesty is pretty easily done from a smartphone whether or not the store provides a “scannable barcode.”
ecommerce and retail
Do you think this merge of online and in-store will prove to be a waste, or might it actually be beneficial to consumers?
online shopping
online shopping
Essick, Kristi. “Re-Inventing the Mall: How Retailers are Bringing Digital Technologies In-Store.” 2012. Cisco. 28 Dec. 2012 <>.

5 Innovative Business Technology Products of 2012

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to look back on the past year’s new business products. Which ones have really made a difference to organizations who use them? Sometimes it’s the technological advancement that really makes a product stand out, but other times it’s the price that makes it more accessible to more people.

Xerox Phaser 7100

Xerox Phaser 7100

The Xerox Phaser 7100 is a low-cost, color tabloid printer. It delivers clear, detailed prints on different media types and is compatible with oversized, tabloid-sized paper. The Phaser 7100 is innovative for offering a tabloid-sized, color printer at a lower price, giving more options to organizations with smaller budgets.

Grandstream GXP2200

Grandstream GXP2200 Business Media Phone

The GXP2200 is an Android-powered desk phone. The first Android-powered phone to be offered at a reasonable price. By using Android as the OS, more users can intuitively navigate through the functions, delivering a faster adoption rate with less training. Android also lets you create cutstom programs as well as take advantage of the Android Marketplace’s extensive application offerings.

Mobotix S14

Mobotix S14 Camera

With the Mobotix S14, discreet surveillance is easier than ever before. The S14 lets you attach up to two lenses with integrated microphones to the camera, allowing you to monitor two adjacent rooms with just one camera. The S14 is a hemispheric camera, which means it can be mounted against a flat surface deliver 180-degrees of horizontal and vertical viewing with no blind spots, except for areas obstructed by beams, walls, furniture or other objects.

FortiVoice Phone Systems

Fortinet FortiVoice Phone System

FortiVoice, previously TalkSwitch, deliver phone systems designed for organizations with up to 400 extensions per location. We particularly like FortiVoice systems because they are low-cost and scalable, with up to 400 total extensions. Each FortiVoice system has capacity for half as many remote extensions as local extensions, and even the most basic system has advanced features like auto attendant, ring groups, and call cascades for a more professional experience, even in small business environments.

Polycom Group Series

Polycom RealPresence Group 500

The RealPresence Group Series video conferencing systems form Polycom deliver a simple interface, the broadest available interoperability, and the lowest total cost of ownership of any video collaboration system. The RealPresence Group Series combines high quality video experiences with their innovative new interface to ensure a fast adoption rate. The Group Series is also incredibly interoperable, ensuring you can communicate with millions of other devices using open standards, as well as Cisco systems that aren’t using open standards.