Using kiosks in your marketing mix – and a Vertisi response

June 5, 2008 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

Just a quick update on my opinion on Vertisi and its potential (regarding this post here where I described Rick Schwartz introducing the new product at TRAFFIC). My intent was not to doubt the utility of the product, it was just to call attention to the fact that the technology has been there for a few years.

Owen Frager tracked back to my original post in his column today entitled “Rick Schwartz’s Vertisi- Not As Dumb As You Think“.  With regards to the product’s usefulness, I do believe it is right up there with advances in retail or point-of-presence businesses like the now pervasive gift card [there is a reason that nearly every supermarket now has a rotating display cross-promoting gift cards for other companies right at the point of sale].

I believe that kiosks–or in the case of Vertisi, the “kiosk-less kiosk”–provide a natural integration between the online and offline. In fact, I had visions of an integrated network of kiosks when I founded a “universal gift registry concept for online and offline merchants” circa 2000 [no longer operational]. Also, you only have to look back at the writing that Chris Anderson did on his research into The Long Tail to see how it would benefit someone like HMV or Barnes & Noble to expand their physical inventory by dedicating a percentage of their physical store space to a kiosk promoting additional inventory.

I also think that Vertisi as a design concept is very sound (why invest in a whole Kiosk, when you can turn your display case itself into a kiosk with a strategically positioned projector). I’ve had some conversations with Vancouver-based ePortSystems and while their kiosk is very striking, takes up little footprint, and provides a value-add for any partner who uses it in their facility–it obviously makes sense that if you can provide the same functionality without having the kiosk at all (and probably be more cost effective in the long-run as well). Though, with something like the unite promoted by ePortSystems, a Castello Brothers Kiosk (or a kiosk promoting Kevin Ham’s Vancouver.com in my own backyard) strategically positioned in a local hotel or tourist makes a lot of sense. Imagine a kiosk in a Palm Springs hotel with a big PalmSprings.com graphic front and center, allowing all those who use the kiosk to browse restaurants nearby and book their reservation for dinner (using an affiliate relationship with OpenTable). Such a presence can not only generte revenue for the location, for the kiosk owner, and the services being promoted, but the value of branding for the person that wraps the kiosk itself cannot be ignored [though it is harder to measure].

In any case, do I think that Vertisi is a revolutionary product? Not in the sense that it is not the first, but could it be the start of a revolution for retail as more and more wake up to the fact that they have an easy opportunity to integrate their online and offline marketing channels (and grow their revenues in the process)? Absolutely.

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