PERCH Makes Shopping An Interactive Experience

PERCH and Kiehls'

New York technology start-up PERCH Interactive is causing some excitement among retailers who are looking to reinvent the in-store experience for shoppers.

As retailers are well aware, and retail analysts have confirmed, consumer shopping trends are changing.  Shoppers now engage in a more complex buying cycle and new behavior like showrooming. These trends are driving brick-and-mortar retailers to look for ways to create unique in-store experiences in order to maintain their customer market share.

Several brands are hoping that what PERCH offers might be the answer. Designed by MIT graduates, PERCH combines projection technology, motion sensors, and custom software to turn any retail table into a product-centered interactive display. PERCH projects digital imagery to accompany physical products on display.  As customers touch or pick up the products, PERCH reacts by revealing relevant digital media, including photos, videos, and product details. PERCH can even display social media feeds and user reviews from the retailer’s website.

“PERCH builds on the strengths of in-store shopping and incorporates techniques developed by online retailers” says company co-founder Jared Schiffman. “PERCH combines the best of both worlds by giving shoppers a chance to experience products first-hand, while simultaneously providing them with the type of media and information they’d find online.”

A customer interacts with products from Of a Kind via a PERCH projection.

A recent PERCH promotion for Kiehls’ Since 1851 showcased the brand’s new Aromatic Blends fragrance line. Customers who picked up the tester products were treated to animations showing the international origins of each fragrance, along with digital postcards providing further details from a personal perspective. “The whole idea is to reward shoppers for interacting with products. That reward may come in the form of a runway video or tech specs or whatever media retailers decide is most relevant at that moment,” Schiffman explains.

On top of providing a consumer experience, PERCH provides retailers with detailed analytics about exactly what shoppers are doing. Retailers can see which products are being touched and picked up most, and assess which PERCH media is most effective at driving interactions.

“Physical retail is much more about offering an experience these days,” says Schiffman. “People don’t come looking for sales advice like in the past. They want to feel for what they are buying, and they want an experience to remember and to look forward to when they return.”

New York readers can see PERCH applications in action at Cole Haan stores in SoHo and on 5th Avenue, at STORY in Chelsea, and at Treasure & Bond in Soho.

Mark Boyd is a freelance writer based in Barcelona, specializing in interactive technologies.