Is Retail Ready For Stratacache’s Play Time

January 15, 2013 by Dave Haynes


I’m going to file this under Hmmmm.

Stratacache CEO Chris Riegel is as smart as they get in this space, and not even vaguely one to engage in wastes of time. So there is a rationale I am clearly, entirely missing as to why the company has launched what it calls its Digital Play service – retail experiences based around eye candy stuff like gesture and augmented reality.

Unique for consumers of all ages, says a news release timed with NRF, with the wave of a hand or stomp of a foot, retailers can promote products and interact with customers all along the path-to-purchase. The Digital Play experience engages consumers to interact with featured messaging, increasing customer recall five to seven times more than a standard digital sign.

“Transforming evasive consumers into engaged shoppers is the goal of any retailer,” says Riegel. “With STRATACACHE Digital Play, we are revolutionizing the way consumers interact with a brand while facilitating a better shopping experience.”

STRATACACHE’s Digital Play solution has four different available experiences:

“NRF’s BIG Show sets the trends for retail experiences, and we’re excited to display our latest Digital Play solution,” adds Riegel. “Innovative digital media solutions have a big impact on bringing retailers closer to the consumer, and we’re thrilled to showcase Digital Play—retail’s promotional power tool.”

There is a large element in every sector that’s attracted to shiny objects and pretty beads, and lots of marketers and merchandisers who want to show they are leading/cutting edge envelope-pushers who are thinking outside the box by introducing this sort of thing in pilots and demos.

But despite the assertion of 5 to 7X multiples in recall (not sure where that comes from), I’ve not seen a lot of evidence that whiz-bang tech like big gesture, AR and VR have more than short-term stopping power, and that consumers really view this as the way they want to gather information and engage. Is this, for example, really how anyone other than extroverts or 11 year olds want to shop for cars?

Brands and the marketplace will, of course, make that determination. An important side note is that Stratacache owns a Digital OOH company, enVu, that does the floor gesture thing in malls.

In a separate release, and I like this more, Stratacache has released what it calls its Retail Cache – effectively a proxy server for retail that allows stores staff and consumers walking around with tablets and phablets to browse the retailers web content – like product details and inventory – without relying on the shaky speeds of the intertubes.

With the Retail Cache, website content is available to customers at the local, in-store wireless network speed, providing much faster speed connections. Retailers have the option to pre-populate the Cache with specific content their customers want, delivering the most bandwidth-intensive applications to dozens or hundreds of online shoppers at once.

Stratacache, if the name didn’t make that obvious, really came out of the caching engine business. This nicely solves a problem for retailers trying to deal with showrooming. Their shoppers get that retailers information quickly, without having to offer up a big, costly wifi pipe out of the store. Instead, all the heavy content is locally stored.


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