retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.

A few examples have popped up this week, illustrating to a great degree how consumer behavior is changing, and how some retailers are adapting.

For example...

Mobile Commerce Daily reports that Target is adding location-based features to its mobile application. The goal is to link local Target ads, sales, products and services to a person's smartphone when they are in the vicinity of a Target store ... but also allows them to either use the app while in-store or to do their shopping online. The goal is a relevant, synchronized and enhanced shopping experience.

According to the story, Target’s Beta Shopping List feature is being tested in Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle and City Target stores with the goal of expanding to other cities in the future.

Now, I have to be honest. Unlike some folks, I'm not particularly wild about the City Target stores I've visited. For example, the one in Portland, Oregon, strikes me as vanilla and cookie-cutter, and not particularly reflective of the city where it is located. But maybe by using technology in a particularly interesting way, Target will make these kinds of services its differential advantage. We'll see.

In addition, Luxury Daily reports that Nordstrom "is contemplating putting iPads in dressing rooms to elevate its customer experience and allow it to be more accessible to digital-savvy customers. The iPads would allow customers to easily look up information to see if products are available in another size, color, department or store. Although other retailers make use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices in store, it seems that this initiative would put Nordstrom ahead of the pack."

The story goes on to say that "the iPads would aid consumers in a number of ways such as seeing if an item is available in a different size, color or a nearby store. The iPads will also sync with customer’s selections from home to have products waiting at the dressing room upon arrival and match up new items with other products that the customer has previously purchased."

That's pretty cool. The strategy could change if the company finds that more people would prefer to use their own mobile devices - whether a smart phone or tablet computer - but again, the idea is to create a relevant, synchronized and enhanced shopping experience.

Along the same lines, Salon.com reports that Hawaiian Airlines plans to "replace its in–flight entertainment system with a fleet of iPad Minis ... The airline will offer the devices for $15 to passengers who pre–order - the same price as the outgoing in–flight entertainment charge, and $17 to those who don’t. Business Class users will, of course, get the service for free."

I'm not entirely sure how many people will use this service ... since when I walk up and down the aisles of airplanes, it is my sense that almost everybody already has their own laptop computer, tablet computer, iPod or iPhone. The sense of how the public consumes content is right, but I kind of feel sorry for the folks who don't get on the plane either with their own equipment or not having ordered in advance ... because they're going to be stuck.

I just want to be able to listen to my music or read on my iPad while landing or taking off. That'll be what I call relevant and enhanced...

That's what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

KC's View: