Kinda cool, sorta pointless retail interactive

October 14, 2011 by Dave Haynes

I am not in the camp that believes in doing stuff just because it’s sorta kinda cool. I think they should actually make something better – even if it is just an overall experience.

Teamlab photo - photo credit: EngadgetThat’s why I can’t muster a lot of enthusiasm for an interactive merchandising thing (as spotted in Engadget, and where this snappy originates) that’s been set up and activated at a men’s clothing store in Tokyo’s high-fashion Shibuya district. The schtick is that when someone pulls a piece of clothing on a featured display rack, a reader picks up that triggered action via an RFID tag embedded with the item’s hanger and throws a corresponding visual up on the screen.

This is pulled together by an “art collective” called Teamlab, so that might say something about the form over the function. As the video shows, picking up a shirt on a hanger shows an image of the front and the back of said shirt. Wow, it’s almost like you are RIGHT THERE with that shirt … Oh wait …

The value to consumers to see the front and back of something that is already right in their hands, and available for twirling between front and back, is a little shaky. For the fashion-impaired (or more accurately, indifferent) like me, suggesting slacks and sweaters and belts and so on that go with the shirt actually starts to make some sense.

The RFID trigger for screen content thing has actually been around for years, and where we’ve seen the best examples of triggered content to screens is in consumer electronics (on tethers), because the items are small but have countless features that beg questions.

This elemental interactive stuff has a role in retail, and places like museums, but whatever’s done needs to have a point. And I’m not sure these hangers do.

Love the music, though. OK, maybe not …

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