Internet shopping is a true marvel of the modern age. Not only does it open up whole new worlds of temptation but it can also save you money. And it does away with annoying or incompetent sales personnel. Despite all of its benefits, buying online is somewhat lacking in one important area - you can't try before you buy, something particularly important when shopping for your clothes. However, with the Point-Of-Sale kiosk concept from Intel, the two experiences might at last find common ground to become the much-needed savior of High Street shopping.
Online retail is a real modern success story. It's popularity with consumers lies in the vast amount of information and goods available at their fingertips and the potentially huge savings that can be made. A large percentage of retailers are benefiting, too, as increased turnover means they can not only turn a profit but can also pass on cost-savings to the consumer. For instance, arranging for goods to be sent direct from manufacturers or only ordering products when a sale has taken place means that retailers can save on inventory and storage costs.
But for all its success, online shopping can't replace the tactile delight that sees hoards of people regularly visiting their local centers of retail distraction. Buying online often limits the buyer to staying with trusted brands or chancing a purchase based on customer reviews. And then there's the added problem of clothes shopping.
Those who are brave enough to shop for clothing over the Internet could be opening the door to a world of frustration and disappointment. You might be lucky and not have problems with advertised sizes not being even close to their real world counterparts or colors in the online catalog being somewhat different to the garment in front of you. Or, like many of us, you might be very familiar with the painful reality of returning an item to the vendor.
Wouldn't it be fantastic if you could go into a clothing store and pick out the products you want to try and then go to a point within the store and get all the information you need, all the customer reviews you can handle, all the help you could ever want, at the touch of a button? Intel's Point-Of-Sale kiosk has been designed by Frog Design to do just that. It can even remember what you 'tried on' last time you were in the store and what your style preferences were. And it can make recommendations about which items go together (just don't ask it if your bum looks big in those jeans!)
Building the concept around Intel's low-energy, high performance 45nm Core 2 Duo mobile processor and its vPro and Active Management technologies, Frog Design has produced "a kiosk that provides information on previous purchases, reviews, and inventories, and allows you to make purchases with an easy to use touch-screen display."
As well as giving the consumer a combination of the "sensory richness of retail shopping with the convenience of online shopping", the kiosk also benefits retailers by incorporating powerful remote system management, being energy and cost efficient and both adaptable and easily maintained.
The Point-Of-Sale kiosk concept was presented for the first time earlier this year and will shortly receive a Bronze International Design Excellence Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America at a prize ceremony in Miami, Florida.
In the video below, Ed Hill from Intel's Embedded Communication Group shows a Internet-connected kiosk and cash register for retail stores. These could help shoppers find exactly what they didn't know they were looking for, order items and have them shipped from the store, and pay using their 'smart phone'.