In this week’s edition of [retail bytes], Eva Pascoe is checking up on social media powerhouses trying to rip brands off (*cough*Instagram*cough*), how you can strategically re-arrange your store layout, and why you’ll never need to log off Facebook again.

 A fistful of (Facebook) dollars: Millennials live on Facebook (their average time consuming media is reported to be 18 hours a day) so it stands to reason that they may want to (yeah, we know it sounds like fake Monopoly money). New rumours indicate that in-store payments may be on the way, allowing Facebook addicts to pay for purchases without having to take their eyes off the phone for even a second. The company has acquired a bunch of odd micro-finance patents, like the one where Facebook plans to lend you money (but only if your friends are of the good credit-scoring type). Expect them to play a bigger role in facilitating your daily spending in the currency of Mark’s choice.

Get your power ups here: If mobile phones are going to be our wallets, boarding passes and tickets to events, we need to get on the case with the battery power, by upping it from a performance level currently ranked as ‘rubbish’. Even more important are the batteries in your retail staff’s mobiles, as they’re increasingly being asked to use their phones on the shop floor for brand apps. in the colour of your choice. Worth investing in for those critical moments when you can’t run out of juice.

From Star Wars with love: Teleportation isn’t quite here yet, but Microsoft is doing their bit to transmit 3D models of friends and loved ones in remote places in real-time to HoloLens wearers. You’ll need a helmet and 4 cameras, so it’s all a bit evolved, but maybe we could use it for a virtual personal shopper visit from Harvey Nichols to our living room? The video looks promising!

I spy: Anonymous in-store tracking of customer movement has just gotten a boost from Canadian company Telus. Data interpretation allows the shop owner to predict where the next ‘hot spot’ will be in the store and where people look the most. Is the visual merchandising too dense? Are the items placed too high up? The data can show how long people look at an item for as well as how long they stay in the shop. Helpful, as long as it really is anonymous…

The great Instagram robbery: Like Facebook, Instagram built its colourful success by enticing brands to pinpoint their locations on the digital streets without Instagram having to pay them a penny. Now, on the back of brands’ money and bloggers efforts, the platform has a monopoly position on photo-sharing and wants to charge toll money to companies that want to talk to their own audiences.  Brands need to re-think their relationship with rogue US-based platform players and attract customers back to their apps and websites via new means, instead of giving in to Instagram’s extortion attempts. Your domain name will not turn around and ask you for 10,000 times more money just because. Retailers should explore Snapchat, Vine and Twitter, which are still fairly algorithm-free zones. Lesson #1 from an interaction with a monopoly platform – never trust a Californian with a free online service! #InstaAlgoCheats

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