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Your Future Shopping Buddy? Multi-touch Retail Display

What you are looking at is an experimental retail display called Razorfashion. It is a large multi-touch enabled computer screen that is designed to let you shop fashion items using gestures. Think of it as a giant iPhone installed in the shopping mall, running a shopping app. Similar to Amazon, it shows you product reviews and tries to sell you related products. Facebook integration is also promised, so that you can consult your friends on purchases. See the video embedded below for all the goodness.

As interesting as it is, I can't help thinking that some improvements are needed to make it truly useful in a real retail space. For instance, the design team neglected the fact that women are likely to have a handbag and some shopping bags in tow, making multi-touch operations difficult. Moreover, a shared multi-touch surface in a busy mall is literally a biohazard. Can you say swine flu?  The idea of displaying your Facebook information for everyone to see is a bit unsettling as well. The biggest problem that I see, however, is the design decision to recreate a full e-commerce shopping experience in a real retail space. People go to mall for the in-person experience of seeing/feeling/touching merchandises, comparing/matching them side by side, trying them on, and admiring themselves in the mirror. If one wishes to "shop" on a computer screen, he or she can simply stay home. (For a more detailed analysis, you are welcome to check out my post on my employer's blog.)

All this is not to say Razorfashion wasn't a worthy experiement. It simply highlights the difficulty that digital designers may face adjusting to the physical world.


Thanks Matthew. You pointed out the key phrase "augmented experience." When a new device is introduced to a well-established behavior pattern, new dynamics may emerge. What it needs to do is to **enhance/augment** the experience; simply merging the physical and virtual is not going to get us there. But I believe things are moving toward the right direction.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - 17:39

I agree there are some issues but the kiddies will be more at home merging the real with the digital. Kind of an augmented experience.

Plus, many times I have wandered in to a record store (yup) and completely forgotten what was on my want list. Applied to fashion, the customer would get that access.

And Alison, you're absolutely right this would work wonderfully with my technology, especially if integrated with a wayfinding application.

Good post, Fang!

Matthew Mohr

Sunday, June 21, 2009 - 12:22