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The October edition of XtremeRetail23, the monthly e-newsletter that looks at technology innovations in almost two dozen retailing venues, reports on how the New York City location of The Container Store is using handheld technology and a delivery system to build sales and consumer interest.

“In its Manhattan location, customers are invited to register a credit card at the front counter, and are given a hand-held PDA device to peruse the store,” XR23 reports. “When they see an item that catches their fancy, they simply scan it themselves with the hand-held and move on. When they're done, they just walk out of the store. For $15, their order will be delivered anywhere in the city on a same-day basis.”

In essence, XR23 suggests, this concept brings together the convenience of Internet shopping with shoppers’ desires to see and touch what they are buying up close. It offers “shoppers the convenience of web-based shopping (no carriages, no awkward bags or boxes to carry and transport), along with the ability to see and touch what they're purchasing.”

And Container Store execs declare themselves happy with the experiment.

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In another XR23 story this month, Phil Lempert addresses the issue of information overload.

“Unstructured information is doubling about every eight months,” Lempert writes. “Do you remember the old high school math exercise of calculating out giving a person a penny on January first and doubling it each day? In six weeks the person would have $43,980,465,111.03. When you double something fairly often, the number gets really big, really quick. Within the next five years the management of unorganized information can become a nightmare for retailers. Keeping the data clean, private and secure will be a major challenge. Getting any use out of it will be an even bigger challenge.”

And, there’s a look at how technology is replacing the old-fashioned shoe cobbler: “The Otabo Shoe Company is resurrecting the personal relationship between the shoemaker and shoe wearer by using CAD/CAM design software to custom fit shoes. So whether one foot is bigger than the other, or your feet are exceptionally narrow, wide, or extra large, consumers don't have to be at the mercy of standardized sizing. Unlike a pair of jeans which can be easily hemmed, tailored, or belted to fit, at-home customizing for shoes is a little trickier for consumers.”

And, there’s much more.

XtremeRetail23 is published by Phil Lempert.
KC's View:
Full disclosure – MNB Content Guy Kevin Coupe is a contributing writer to XtremeRetail23.