Mobile is just the beginning

Would you like a tablet with those fries?

My local ASDA (Walmart UK) grocery store just put up a fairly substantial Nexus 7 POP display…at the front door, next to the place where people who didn’t travel by car tie up their pets and wait for taxis. For all I know there’s a second one at the door that leads to the parking lot.

Just to be clear, this is a grocery store. Sure, they have an aisle or two that sells toasters, light bulbs, cheap paperbacks and school supplies, but a good 80% of the store is food (…well ok, 50% food, 30% liquor).

There’s always been a small counter selling cheap-ish mobile phones and SIM cards, but it’s not exactly a feature of the store. I’ve seen far more people hovering in front of the fruit or shampoo aisle than i’ve ever see at the phone counter.

So maybe this is just a trial. Or a back-to-school promo. I’m not sure, but it reminds me of that cheeky Volkswagon Golf commercial that’s currently playing in the UK…

…a woman browsing a farmer’s market stops at a fruit stall and asks for four lovely apples.

“Anything else?” asks the salesman.

She pauses just a moment, peers down at her list, then asks if he still has any of those lovely Golfs.

The salesman looks around briefly (as if trying to recall just exactly where he might have put them) then he points at a Golf precariously balanced on the table next to a crate of oranges.

“£1500 off the deposit” he says “would you like just the one?”

Suggesting you might buy a car on impulse is certainly cheeky.

Suggesting you might do the same with a cute, well built, eco-system-rich sub-£200 tablet is however starting to feel plausible.

As prices continue to drop (and we’re pretty sure they will) it may well make sense to routinely (!) sell tablets next to fruit, toys and jeans…or simply give them away as accessories to something of higher value.

6 Responses to “Would you like a tablet with those fries?”

    • steph

      Exactly :-P Seriously though, I think this will happen sooner than we think. (Not suggesting BTW that this will always be the best use of resources…an interactive tray may be as much a waste of money as a “me too” app.) Will be interesting however to see contexts where this does start to make sense.

  1. Brett Jankord

    On your point about giving them away as accessories to something of higher value, I know Google is including a Nexus 7 with their fiber optic service in Kansas City, for free. It will serve as the “TV remote” for the fiber TV service. I also just saw Toys R Us is working on new tablet for children. I believe we are going to see a rise in tablet users, just like we saw a rise in smartphone users in the next few years.

    • steph

      What’s kind of neat about tablets is that they’re so utilitarian. If you give someone a free smartphone, there’s all this baggage involved (number portability, contracts, transitioning from the “always on” device that you have with you all the time). Tablets are far more standalone. Just find some wi-fi and away you go. Or even use them offline like the car company example at the end of the post. The tablet was provided free of charge as it contained the owners manual application. You should (ideally) be able to use the manual without connectivity, so the presence of this new device doesn’t create as much of a commitment on the part of the user, or the company that has given it away.

    • Andrew Smyk

      The growth of tablets and its integration into our daily lives has changed my kids expectations of technology. They now “expect” everything to be touch and swipe. If it is not, they quickly loose interest in traditional mouse/keyboard inputs. My four year old only (stress the word only) likes to use gesture based devices.

      Tablets for kids in toy stores, like the LeapPad2 and the Innotab2 will only make tablets more ubiquitous and change the expectations of content and interaction.

  2. remi grumeau

    Géré in France, fiber Internet provider Numéricâble Is giving away a 7″ Android tablet (Archos) + free mobile sim card (1h call + 60 sms) for a new 1year contrat (45€/month).

    not a grocery store, but yet given away


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