Dear Retailers, An Idea About Product Reviews

Product reviews have been a part of the online shopping experience for almost as long as the internet has been “interneting”. The in-store shopping experience in retail outlets hasn’t really changed all that much either when you really think about it.

Nonetheless I’m just a little surprised that retailers like Best Buy or Bed, Bath & Beyond (that have amassed hundreds of thousands of product reviews) only make their product reviews visible online and ignoring a placement that may just be equally convenient and informative for customers.

Here’s the thing; if information adds value to customers online does it not also add value offline?

I’m not saying it makes sense in every store, or for every product category. But, just think about having that information right there in front of you. No more do you have to browse your phone while you browse through stores. There’s surely a clear benefit for the customer that helps reassure them of their purchase.

Admittedly, integrating technology that ties online reviews to in-store products is not a simple challenge. That said, I pictured installing small low-energy e-ink displays to a network that brings key product information to the consumer.

This isn’t limited to displaying reviews with star ratings. Price point, reviews, savings, and all manner of product data could then be controlled via the same system. This provides a data rich and dynamic platform from which to control product data in-store and online. No more printed labels, less room for pricing errors… there are a lot of possibilities there.

In thinking on the idea, I kind of get excited by the potential even though it’s quite a simple thing. I do however realise that the same problems with online product reviews would trickle down into store data. Fraudulent reviews are a common problem online, however, retailers should be tackling this as Amazon does with verified purchases.

I haven’t read much about the internet of things, but from my limited knowledge on the concept, there’s a relationship between this idea and the intent of IoT… and who knows, maybe this is already a thing. Anyone out there seen any evidence of such an idea being executed in a retail environment?

Photo credit: Bill Branson (Photographer)

Moto 360 Quick Review with 5 Favourite Watch Faces

I have had the Moto 360 for a number of months now as I received it as an early Christmas present. The model I have is the Black version with black steel band, which I think still looks great. The build quality is really impressive and even after nearly 5 months of daily wear I have yet to see any marks or scratches.


Usually I get a full day of use and that involves putting the watch on at around 7am and it’ll usually need a charge by 10-10.30pm each night. I have a charger at home and at work so I can give it a boost whenever, so I don’t really have any frustrations with the battery life.


The screen is clear and bright for most circumstances, and the sensors to a pretty good job most of the time to detect when the screen should light up. An example of when this doesn’t work well is when I have my arms crossed and wrist is up-turned. There are occasions when the dimmed screen just won’t light up when lifting your wrist but this isn’t the norm… you just have to press the button on the side to activate.


The band and watch are light and comfortable to wear all the time, I find the fit is good and I have yet to notice it catch on shirts or anything like that. The depth of the watch itself is substantial and I don’t love that it’s so thick but it’s not really a problem.


Day to day use, Android Wear is reliable and the integration of Apps to the device is pretty light and superficial. I’ve yet to find many situations where having the watch feels like it adds to the functionality of my Phone’s Applications. Android Wear is smooth 90% of the time but it does get a little slow to respond and on screen lag is noticeable; I’m not sure if this is just OS related or if it’s a result of weak hardware but it doesn’t last long.

What I can say is that I expected Android Wear to advance more quickly than it has. From a functionality point of view there have been very few developments, and none of those released to date have been very significant. The Verge posted news of an update coming to Android Wear that will enable wifi connectivity and some other new features arguably to compete with the Apple Watch.

Voice Commands

Like most and voice based technology out there today, it works well when it works. I find that voice commands function well around 75% of the time and almost always fail when I try to demonstrate them to somebody. The same challenges exist here as do with all voice based service providers; you really need to be deliberate in what you’re saying or your phone will end up doing things you didn’t want it to. This can lead to funny or even embarrassing situations, sometimes both at the same time.

Watch Faces

Having a wide range of options for watch faces is definitely one of the nicer aspects of owning an Android Wear device. I have purchased about 4 or 5 premium watch faces and here are a list of my favourites:

  1. Pure Watch Face
  2. Spotlight Watch Face
  3. Street Art watch face
  4. Odyssey Premium Watch Face
  5. ustwo Smart Watch faces

Oh and just a few more

  • Pop Watch Face – I like the style of this face, and there are lots of options to customize

Google Glass: Not the future…

Towards the end of my time with Glass I took it to see some Baseball.
Towards the end of my time with Glass I took it with me while at the Football with some mates.

I was a while ago now that I was ‘nominated’ to be a part of Google’s Glass Explorer program, December 2013. I have since returned my Google Glass Explorer kit and wanted to share my thoughts for anyone else out there that may be interested.

Social awareness: Glass isn’t a ‘social’ friendly device whereas your mobile phone feels personal and social. You can share a video together on your phone, I can’t say the same for Glass.

My view of wearable technology is that it should remove the need for other devices, Glass is very much dependent on having a phone in your pocket. This will probably change but for now Glass is really a tethered accessory for your phone. So now you’re charging two devices or more every night… are you running out of space on your bedside table?

Real life interruptions with Glass: Google say that the intention is to have people look up and be more focused on the world around them. To me, this vision was a part of the appeal of Glass. However in the real world, Glass manages to a provide more interruptions as it notifies you with sound and the screen will activate regardless of the timing.

As Glass evolves and becomes more closely integrated with various apps and services I see this only getting worse. While Google have tried to put a positive spin on the technology and why you should wear it. Google want to be with you every moment and be a part of answering every question. And creepy as that sounds, it’s only going to become more of an issue in the coming years.