Bits & Bytes | Kiosked, Glashion, Chirp

Bits & Bytes is a monthly showcase of noteworthy digital innovations in the retail space, courtesy of research consultancy GDR Creative Intelligence.

Shoppers using Chirp at Topshop | Source: Topshop

LONDON, United Kingdom — Cate Blanchett was snapped at the opening of the “Beauty in Wonderland” exhibition in Milan last week, wearing a stunning red and white dress by Prabal Gurung. Predictably, the image circulated swiftly online, attracting the eyeballs of countless fashion consumers. Now, a new service called Kiosked, aims to let people buy the products contained in images like these, with just one click. Well, almost one click.

“Kiosked” images — denoted by a small ‘K’ icon in the corner — are embedded with real-time information about where to buy the products they contain. When shoppers hover over these images with their mouse, they see product information pulled from the e-commerce sites of partnering retailers. In a world in which online imagery (especially of celebrities) is a powerful driver of purchase intent, Kiosked is definitely onto something.

Participating retailers can also post Kiosked content on their websites, blogs and social media pages, and track exactly where and how customers are interacting with it. “We can track everything. We can tell which items are most popular, in which colour, at what price and where. We can collect an immense amount of data and it’s all in real time,” said Kiosked founder and chief executive Micke Paqvalén.

Over 10,000 brands and retailers have signed up so far, including powerhouse companies like Nike, Uniqlo, Yoox and Asos. Later this week, the company will launch with a major UK publisher to bring Kiosked content to magazine websites. “We want Kiosking to be a new metaphor for content monetisation, in the same way that Google is for search,” said Paqvalén.

Meanwhile, offline, shoppers will soon be able to command their Google Glass devices (the company’s Internet-connected eyewear) to buy products that they spot on billboard advertisements, in store windows, or even on fellow consumers walking on the street.

Glashion, a prototype Google Glass app, lets users take a photo of any product they see and automatically find visual matches online. Users can simply swipe their Google Glass to scroll through their visual search results. And, as well as providing Glass wearers with links to e-tailers where selected products can be bought, Glashion also directs them to nearby stores where they are currently stocked.

Glashion was developed by Billy Mauro and Felipe Servin over a two-day TechCrunch “hack-a-thon” in San Francisco and will launch for the iOS and Android platforms early next year.

There’s innovation happening in audio, as well, an area that Wall Street technology analyst turned venture capitalist Mary Meeker has identified as an emerging opportunity space. In particular, Chirp lets users share content using sound. The app turns text, image, video or a simple web link into two-second “chirps” (something like audio QR codes) which users can receive and decode.

During London’s recent fashion week, Topshop set up speakers in their Oxford Street flagship that “chirped” backstage photos live from its catwalk show in Regents Park. “Customers enjoyed the content interaction (and sound, of course). It enhanced their shopping experience,” said Sheena Sauvaire, Topshop’s chief marketing officer.

Sheena Patel is features editor at GDR Creative Intelligence, a London-based foresight consultancy that identifies innovation in retail, branding and hospitality.