January 08, 2010

Interactive Kiosks As Middleman Between Retailer, Consumer

Craig Martin of Reality Interactive LLC shows off interactive marketing programs on the Microsoft Surface touchscreen computer the company has in its office in Middletown. (Bettina Hansen / The Hartford Courant)

Years ago, companies relied on sales people to tell customers everything about their products, but today, a small Middletown company uses technology to help retailers answer questions.

"You have a classic problem," said Reality Interactive's president, Craig Martin. "You have a brand with a sophisticated product with lots of features. The client does a lot of research. In the middle is the 'dumb channel,' the salesman."

Enter the "point of sale" retail kiosks programmed by Reality — digital merchandising machines that provide instant answers to customer inquiries, resulting, Martin said, in higher numbers at the cash register. Reality writes software for kiosks made by various manufacturers.

"The information is being dispensed at the right place and the right time and that's why they are buying it," said Jim Ligotti, the company's chief operating officer.

One of Reality's prime clients is Lego, which has self-service digital merchandising kiosks in many Toys "R" Us and Kmart stores. Customers can get recommendations for toys based on the child's age, the amount they wish to spend and the child's interests.

Another major client is BMW, which has Reality kiosks that offer detailed information about each car model in addition to sales pitches for car accessories and specifics about service hours. Other blue-chip clients include Bose, Verizon, Sprint, Leap Frog and Mini Cooper.

Rest if Article -- Middletown Company Developing Interactive Kiosks As Middleman Between Retailer, Consumer - Courant.com

Posted by staff at January 8, 2010 09:20 AM