Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Shelf-mount signage offers sight, sound... smell?

Shelf-mounted digital signage displays are practically a dime a dozen nowadays, but this article points to a new product being trialed that has something else to offer: scent.

The wireless device kicks on as shoppers pause during the critical eight-second window that researchers say it takes to decide which toothpaste or soda is going in the basket.

For more than three years, Houston-based Point of Product Broadcasting Co. and Irving, Texas-based Avidwireless have been working on the device, which has a 3.5-inch screen, a digital readout and a sensor that knows a shopper is there. The unit is also capable of sending out scents of fresh bread or coffee.

When the test is done, Littman estimates that it will cost about 16 cents an hour — or $1,460 annually — to hire one device for a year.
At last year's GlobalShop show, there were a number of companies touting new scent technology to get shoppers to stop and smell the roses. And by roses, I mean whatever product they were trying to sell. This is the next step in that full-sensory advertising, and while I'm not convinced that it's ready for prime-time, it's neat to see a trial underway.

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