When Genevieve Bell was studying the car industry, one of the things she reportedly discovered what that the technology in the car wasn't as important as the technology that people brought into the car.
Our music, podcasts, address books and recent destinations are with us everywhere, so why try to duplicate that in the car? Just create the ability to hook up the phone.
Which makes sense. Our cars are full of personal items we brought in.
It's a very smart piece of ethno research. And it might be the philosophy that helps retail, too.
What if instead of a retailer investing huge amounts of money into physical things, location by location, they focus their attention on reacting to a phone once it arrives? I think this goes beyond apps and beacons. Target and Starbucks and more could tie together on one platform, not separate ones that they each have to build, market and grow an audience for. Like our playlists of hundreds of bands that share a channel.
Maybe the answer is something like MyShop Companion?