HP’s Retail Store Assistant

HP’s Retail Store Assistant


HP has introduced the prototype for what they are calling their “Retail Store Assistant”. This kiosk unit will send promotions to store customers carrying enabled smart phones by beaming coupons and store specials directly to the consumer or calling them to the kiosk to receive printed coupons of the same.

Using the HP retail kiosk system, consumers initially register online or in-store so their smart phone will communicate with the kiosk. That registration requires the store’s loyalty card, which brings in the customer’s shopping history at the particular location. It also requires the customer to take out his/her Bluetooth-enabled smart phone and pair it with the kiosk, so that data can be exchanged. The phone then can serve as an identification/authentication device.

Ultimately, HP wants the customer’s smart phone to be able to communicate directly with a store’s self-checkout system, but there is no such capability yet, even in a prototype, at this time but we are told that set up is in the works as well. This system could also leverage future item-level RFID systems. The HP kiosks are currently carrying a price tag of about $8,000 to $10,000 in small-volume production and could “go down to a few thousand dollars” in large-volume retail deployments, HP told us. The units can perform several functions beyond customer interactions, including inventory, POS (point-of-sale), supply chain and employee training programs.

At its most basic level the kiosk-to-smart-phone system can deliver real-time promotions based on that customer’s shopping history as well as inventory triggers at the store. It can also display store maps, print a variety of store specials or product usage tips, remind the customer of items the customer entered into a Web site and play private voice mail messages (for example, a family member asking for a particular purchase). The possibilities are quite interesting and this type of retail tech is hitting the fast. We’ll be taking a much closer look at this and other such innovations in upcoming issues of Picture Business.