NEW YORK—Intel unveiled several solutions earlier this week at the National Retail Federation's Big Show designed to help retailers improve consumer engagement and inventory management. The company showcased solutions that were developed in partnerships with Costa Coffee, McCormick & Company, and Metro Group.
Costa Coffee worked with Intel to develop an intelligent espresso vending machine, the Costa Express, that uses anonymous viewer analytics collected by Intel's Audience Impression Metric Suite to customize the selections offered to a customer based on his or her perceived age and gender. The machine also emits the scent and sounds of coffee beans being ground as it prepares the drink, and a sensor alerts its owner when it is low on ingredients, such as fresh milk and syrups. The Intel-based machines are currently deployed in 2,500 locations in the United Kingdom.
Known for its seasonings, McCormick & Company developed stations designed to educate customers about the brand and its range of flavors. The five stations are "FlavorPrint," which provides recipes based on a customer's responses to a survey about his or her favorite food; "Guess That Spice," an interactive game that involves guessing the name of the spice scent emitted from the station; "Flavor Explorer," which offers a brief history about the company and its flavors; videos; and a chef demo area. Powered by Intel Core processors, the stations are available at McCormick's flagship store in Baltimore, where they regularly receive a 70 to 75 percent usage rate, according to McCormick.
Lost sales from out-of-stock merchandise and deep discounts on overstocked products are estimated to cost retailers $818 billion annually. To address this issue, Intel and Metro Group have developed digital shelf labels that allow grocers to instantly change product pricing on soon-to-expire items, for example, or increase awareness for new products with high-definition video. The content management system runs on an Intel Core processor-based platform with Intel Active Management Technology.
"Retailers are facing increasing pressure to explore new ways to engage consumers across online and mobile platforms as well as in traditional storefronts while reducing inventory costs," said Michelle Tinsley, director of Intel's Retail Solutions Division. "Intel is working with industry leaders to provide technology solutions that enable retailers to deliver fun and memorable brand experiences as well as new ways to ensure the goods customers want are immediately available."