IBM and Amazon Flow announced new “augmented reality” consumer shopping aids last week. The new devices add the ability to identify products on shelf using image recognition, to the already available bar code and QR code scanners. Once a product is identified by image recognition the application can:
- · tell stories about the products
- · play trailers of movies,
- · playing cuts from a CD,
- compare prices with other stores
- · display nutritional values, allergen warnings or more suitable alternatives or
- · rank product features based on a shopper chosen criteria.
Both applications are in for a hard row to hoe in CPG because of the Gap between the product images and data available from brands or commercial data capture houses, and the actual packaging on the retail shelf.
ShelfSnap has done the only empirical studies of this gap (The Consumer Relevant Product Image and Data Gap) and found the gap between data and shelf to affect 64% the products commonly stocked on key retailer shelves. To amplify the work it has already done on entire categories, ShelfSnap recently evaluated the gap for shopping baskets of almost two hundred items ordered online from one of the top two online grocers in the world.
We compared what we saw online and the nutritional panel information for the products we ordered each week, to the products we received:
· 63% of the products delivered had packaging that differed from the image online.
· 58% of the items with differing packaging also had differences in the primary nutritional panel on the package vs. what was represented online.
· The images used by the retailer were supplied by the manufacturer or by one of two top commercial houses claiming absolutely accurate data. It may have been accurate for the products it portrayed, but it wasn’t Relevant to the products delivered or available on shelf to the consumer.
Without tying products the products that consumers are finding on shelf or in their delivery totes back to the product images and especially the health and wellness data in the mobile or online application brands and retailers will at least sub-optimize the potential of these great new tools, and more seriously may raise the consumer’s ire by appearing to mislead them. Can anyone say Pink Slime?