Adobe introduces shopping bag of the future

The connected bag functions as a virtual shopping cart in physical stores

Adobe is bringing the intelligence of ecommerce to the brick and mortar world with a new smart shopping bag that functions like a virtual shopping cart.

Announced at Adobe Summit in Las Vegas on Tuesday, the Adobe Smart Bag is a collaboration with Capgemini and tech startup Twyst. Once customers place items in the bag, it starts a running total of those products.

Adobe Smart Bag

The checkout process is determined by the retailer, but the bag’s technology allows for an automatic checkout via a store app. It is designed with a hard exterior (Adobe’s prototype is made of leather) and a reusable interior bag that the customer can remove at the end of their shopping trip, triggering the purchase of all of the items inside.

The Smart Bag makes use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to allow communication between the bag and product tags. It has a lightweight BLE device built into the bag’s base that can recognize when an item with a RFID tag is placed inside. (RFID tags are stickers that emit a signal that can be placed on a product tag and cost just a fraction of a cent.)

The bag is also lined with mylar that blocks out other signals so when a customer passes items in the store, they’re not added to the customer’s shopping cart.

Once the interior bag is removed, it sends a signal to the app triggering a mobile purchase, using payment information stored in the retailer’s app. The store can then follow-up with a digital receipt via email.

Ben Gilchriest, digital innovation lead at Capgemini, said this technology was customizable based on the needs of the retailer. The design and production of the bag itself, for example, is at the discretion of the retailer, meaning the store can choose to make it out of either luxe or inexpensive materials and customize it with their own branding.

Stores can also use the technology without pairing it with a mobile app. In that case, the BLE device could be built into a kiosk or a traditional checkout, allowing the customer to pay using a terminal instead of their phone. Gilchriest said this had the potential to massively cut down checkout times – a key pain point for retailers.

Adobe Summit 2016

Marc Eaman, Adobe’s director of Marketing Cloud technical marketing, demonstrated the bag on stage using the outdoor apparel brand REI Co-Op as an example. Eaman entered into a mock store and picked up the bag, then purchased a bicycling helmet using it with the back-end of REI’s app showing how the purchase worked on screen.

REI Co-Op is not currently using the Smart Bag, but Gilchriest said several retailers are currently testing it in “clean lab” simulated retail spaces for potential use. As of Tuesday, the technology is available for marketers to purchase and use.

The Smart Bag is one of several technology products Adobe has rolled out for retailers in recent years as it works to bridge the gap between online and in-store sales. Last year, the enterprise marketing company introduced a new set of tools aimed at retailers with physical stores to its Marketing Cloud software, including AEM Screens, which marketers can use to create interactive in-store and OOH touch-screen experiences.

 

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