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Pre-tailing, Retailing and Post-tailing

Imagine the following scenario: You set up a menu for the week at home with an application that takes into account your budgetary and nutritional parameters. Highly targeted offers based on your selections are sent to your smart phone. Then you're out the door and headed to Kroger but there is a Safeway in the vicinity. All of the sudden your mission is intercepted with better offers from Safeway, and your menu changes accordingly on the fly. You reroute to Safeway. When you get inside you pick up what you need as your phone interacts with the displays you stand before. You're being offered special deals. You take one and scan the item with your phone. Then you go to an express checkout lane and tap the device on a sensor that simultaneously reads the UPCs you scanned, gives you a total, takes your payment and loads Catalina coupons onto your phone.

The experience certainly sounds far off but it could happen 18-24 months from now, said Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, chairman of SymphonyIRI Group. He said Android devices and iPhones will soon be equipped with the near-field communications required to interact with displays from as far as 10 feet.

I'd imagine the technology could also support the type of scavenger hunt adventure outlined for me last week by some folks from the TracyLocke marketing agency. What they explained works with an app that directs you to get a specific recipe ingredient as soon as you enter the store. Once you do, you're sent to the next ingredient, but in order to get a $1 off you have to make it from Product A to B in a certain amount of time. A store-specific map helps lead the way.