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High-Tech Shopping In a Window Wonderland 61

PreacherTom writes "Elaborate holiday window fronts are nothing new to the Miracle Mile of Chicago's Michigan Avenue, home to many of the world's most famous stores. However, retailers are debuting new technology to take things to the next level this year. On Nov. 20, Ralph Lauren installed a 67-in. touch-screen display that allows passersby to purchase any item from the company's RLX line of high-performance ski-wear. They can then retrieve available items from inside the store, or have the clothes shipped from a central warehouse ... skipping the line at the register completely. Ralph Lauren is far from alone: this is just one example of how stores are targeting the tech-savvy consumer."
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High-Tech Shopping In a Window Wonderland

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  • Forget that (Score:4, Funny)

    by tttonyyy ( 726776 ) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @01:58PM (#16966026) Homepage Journal
    ...just have someone playing with their Wii in the shop window, that should get peoples attention.
  • Around here, it seems a lot of people are afraid to use self checkout lines, where you scan and bag the items yourself. So, they all line up at the cashiers, meanwhile, I can get through the self checkout in record time.
    • targeting the tech-savvy consumer.
      They aren't targeting tech-savvy people, they are looking for is someone who isn't afraid to make a purchase whilst standing on one of the busiest streets in the nation - techy-savviness might be seen in capturing the financial elements of the transaction in such a public place.
    • by tttonyyy ( 726776 ) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @02:10PM (#16966120) Homepage Journal
      Around here, it seems a lot of people are afraid to use self checkout lines, where you scan and bag the items yourself. So, they all line up at the cashiers, meanwhile, I can get through the self checkout in record time.
      ...unless something goes wrong, in which case it takes ten times as long. Or if you're buying alcohol (which requires age verification), for example.

      While I don't doubt your premise that some people are afraid to use them, there are circumstances where people might not choose to use them as well. Sounds like risk assessment to me.
      • by farker haiku ( 883529 ) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @02:30PM (#16966236) Journal
        Take me for isntance... I go through the regular checkout lane so that the store doesn't see a discontinued need for workers. Yeah, I know how self checkout works, yeah, I think it's reliable, no, I don't think the extra 2-5 minute wait is worth higher unemployment numbers.
        • Capitalism is about making things more effective. When will people stop complaining about small shops closing up, people being laid off, et cetera? That's the idea!
          • This cannot be more wrong. Capitalism is about assigning value to your utility. Both can and most ofter are non-monetary. It is usually more about time, inconvenience, conscience... money is just the common denominator, the clutch we use to make these things comparable.
            • If there aren't enough people who value mom and pop stores to keep them in business, as is obviously the case of the individual store when it closes up, they have been rated superfluous by the society. Their value was not enough, and if you believe in such a system, you should not mourn the loss. Put a product on the market? It will be valued monetarily.

              That said, if a store is boycotted if they start laying people off, then people have proven to value the employees and as such, if the losses to boycott pro
          • >Capitalism is about making things more effective.
            >When will people stop complaining about small shops
            >closing up, people being laid off, et cetera?
            >That's the idea!

            True, at least in part.

            Which is one of the reasons some of us think it's rather a bad idea.

            I share your surprise that so many people complain about the necessary and inevitable result of a system while continuing to support it wholeheartedly at both the polls and the cash register. I just wish they'd stop the later rather than the f
        • What about the engineers and programmers that create and maintain the self-checkout machines? Don't they deserve jobs too?

          Don't buy a horse and buggy just to prevent the people who make horse and buggies keep their jobs.
          • I'd be interested to meet these people who make the buggy horses of which you speak. Do they do so biologically or mechanically? And why don't they do some unit testing?
        • by Dantu ( 840928 )
          I don't think the extra 2-5 minute wait is worth higher unemployment numbers.

          Did you even think before you said that? You would rather pay people to do work that you actually don't want done (making you wait), than to have them unemployed and looking for useful work. Clearly you're no laissez-faire capitalist, but even for a socialist there are better options:
          - improved (un)employment insurance and/or welfare programs so that people can get by while looking for useful work
          - Make-work projects - you overpa
        • Using an outdated system or technology to keep people in jobs is Luddism at its worst. Do you have all your cotton spun by hand to keep the cotton spinners in work?
        • by rthille ( 8526 )
          Do you move items around in the store too, so the store has to hire another person to put the things back where they belong?

          Personally, I'd rather have the store pay people to be helpful to me looking for stuff and check out myself...
      • Or if you're buying alcohol (which requires age verification), for example.


        Age verification is instant and seamless, someone just presses a button or something. I race through these self-checkouts whilst all the lazy retards stand in lines!
    • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot@k[ ]stead.org ['eir' in gap]> on Thursday November 23, 2006 @02:15PM (#16966154) Homepage
      In a few weeks, when people start noticing the self-checkouts, they will quickly become one of **THE SLOWEST** lines in the store. This is because

      • You have Joe struggling to find the barcode on the box
      • You have Joe scanning and buying 15 things even though the limit is only 1-5 items
      • You have the stupid machine pausing after every scan saying "Please place the item into the bag" or somesuch
      • You have items recorded with incorrect weights so even when you do put it promptly in the bag the system complains and asks you to wait for a cashier

      All this headache - and do they give you any kind of a discount for doing a cashier's work? No. So the store is saving the cashier salary, and not passing it onto you.

      I gave up on self-checkouts long ago. Maybe in a technology generation or two they will be better (I really like the IBM commercial where the RFID scanner scans all the items instantly and presents the total - hopefully it will zap the tag too).

      But for now they suck ass and are a waste of time. If you have more than two items, or have to wait even behind *ONE MORE* person than the normal checkout line, the normal checkout line will be faster.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kent_eh ( 543303 )
        All this headache - and do they give you any kind of a discount for doing a cashier's work? No. So the store is saving the cashier salary, and not passing it onto you.

        That's my main reason for not using them.
        I don't see any great gain for me.

        And in the larger economic picture, it means less people employed, which means less people with money available to spend at MY business.

        It's not small business that's moving to self-serv checkouts, it's the big "the only thing that matters is max_profit" companies th
        • But won't they need to spend money on security to make sure that nobody is quietly stealing stuff instead of paying for it? In the UK at the couple of self-service checkouts I used, I don't think there was an item limit, and it would have been easy to put stuff through without paying (not that I did of course :/ just always aware how easy it is to take advantage of systems if I really wanted to, especially being a SysAdmin..! but I have morals, and that's why I'm in such a trusted position in the first plac
      • Yep, I agree wholeheartedly. When it comes to shopping technology hasn't sped things up, it's slowed it down. Credit cards and debit cards, while more convenient for the individual and shop, are less convenient for the individual behind since they are much slower than cash.

        That said...perhaps it would be good for old people to get the tech and everyone else to use cash. This being because there's nothing an old person likes to do more at a checkout than have a really good long rummage for the exact chan
        • Credit cards and debit cards, while more convenient for the individual and shop, are less convenient for the individual behind since they are much slower than cash.

          My experience is different. I can pay with a debit card in something like 5 seconds. With cash, I may be able to hand over some bills in 5 seconds, but no way is the cashier going to be able to give me the appropriate change in that time.
          There's also the 'supply chain' of the cash to consider. If I have to go to an ATM first to retrieve my cash,
      • really like the IBM commercial where the RFID scanner scans all the items instantly and presents the total - hopefully it will zap the tag too

        In a mall near you, sometime in the near future...

        You walk over to the self-checkout counter. As you pass the scanner post, the RFID scanner scans all the items instantly and presents the total. Once you pay, a set of rings shoot from the ground Stargate SG-1 style and surround you and your groceries. You hear "ZZZZT", the packaging on your groceries begins to smell f
        • Now see, I was watching TV, and came across the idea that there would be an RFID tag in the food and your credit card, and it'd be a small matter of simply walking through a post or whatever, and it'd automagically deduct the money from your credit card account - then it proceeds to zap you with electricity, destroying the RFID tags in the process. Or something. Either that, or the in-store system just makes a note to ignore RFID tags belonging to the food you just purchased and you then walk out, no need t
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ephemeriis ( 315124 )

      Around here, it seems a lot of people are afraid to use self checkout lines, where you scan and bag the items yourself. So, they all line up at the cashiers, meanwhile, I can get through the self checkout in record time.

      You're lucky. Around here it seems that most of the people using the self checkout lines are the folks who should be farthest from them.

      They go to the self checkout line which is market very clearly as "20 items or less" with two or three shopping carts piled high with items. Then they sta

  • Is it just me or does entering your credit card info on a 67in. screen is a bad idea?
  • High-Tech Shopping in a WindowS Wonderland!!! uh, nevermind :)
  • ...this is just one example of how stores are targeting the tech-savvy consumer.
    Just one more way to suck in the "un-savvy" impulse buyer.
  • So, come on already, which Windowing System did they use? Was it X? I sure do hope it was X11 and not some piece of crap like Rio...
  • We had something like that here in Silicon Valley a year ago, at Alan Pinel Realtors in Palo Alto. Big touch screen inside the front window, yet able to detect touches on the outside. You could check their house inventory. This being Palo Alto, the price categories went to "$5,000,000 and up".

    It wasn't obvious how the touch sending worked. Some kind of sensing bar hung above the display, inside the window. The window glass itself seemed totally standard.

  • Ralph Lauren's RLX ski wear is "high performance"? Heh. That's a good one.

    High gaper factor [gaperhunter.com], maybe. :)
  • Im more of a tactile shopper myself, i mean seriously, i *Wouldnt* put my card into a giant tv screen. im not exactly a skinny bloke, so id at least like to try my stuff on first. Its like buying groceries over teh internet - its a great idea until you find that some one stacked your tomatoes and bananas at teh bottom of a bag of soup tins. Delightful isnt it - you never know how it will turn out until it is too late
    • You realise that most (if not all) grocery deliverers will happily take back and refund items which aren't up to scratch (or have been battered into mush) when delivered. So if some idiot does what you described then you can easily refuse to accept them and the driver will return them and in a day or so the amount will be refunded to your account.
  • From the original article ...

    "The snowflakes have paid off in terms of brand identity. We want shoppers to come in and buy, of course. But we also want them to have long-term, warm memories of Saks as a place to visit and shop," Wisgerof says. "Now the snowflake has become a Saks icon. In many ways, we now 'own' the snowflake...and it appears on our holiday shopping bags around the nation."

    I wonder if they're going to patent the snowflake, now it's part of their brand and all ...

  • The Miracle Mile is in L.A.
  • Ralph Lauren installed a 67-in. touch-screen display that allows passersby to purchase any item

    Nothing like having your CC# and details presented on a 67" display.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by markimusk ( 669429 )
      This is the second comment about this thing showing your credit card info to everyone on a huge display.

      Are you fucking retarded? Do you really think it does this? Do you not suppose somebody might have thought of that when designing it and made a credit card info exchange perhaps a tiny bit more secure?

      Christ this it Slashdot, not Retards R Me ok? Do the world a gigantic favour and eliminate yourself as expediently as possible.

      fucktard.

      no offense.
  • They can then retrieve available items from inside the store, or have the clothes shipped from a central warehouse ... skipping the line at the register completely.

    Wow, imagine this extended to the home, allowing shoppers to buy without even leaving the house! Oh, wait...

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