Take a Cab, Buy A Lipstick

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Beginning this morning for five days, passengers taking any of the 50 New York cabs with a Glamour magazine topper that’s parked at either The Standard Hotel or at the Conde Nast headquarters at Times Square will get both a free ride anywhere in New York and, more importantly for Glamour and the VeriFone Media, the chance to buy luxury beauty products right from the seat of the cabs.

The 50 cabs equipped with VeriFone Media screens are also outfitted with technology allowing passengers to purchase beauty products by swiping their smart phones over special tags inside the cab.

Passengers will get the free cab ride for being part of the five-day Fashion Week event. By doing this, they will see a three-minute video loop on either Lancome lipstick, Lancome eye makeup or Yves St.Laurent Touche Eclat complexion highlighter. Screens will show programming from Glamour on beauty trends, with makeup artists from L’Oreal brands Lancome and Yves Saint Laurent doing demonstrations.

SnapTags from technology company SpyderLynk, Denver, Colorado, are hung on either side of the screens in the taxis and passengers who want to shop for products on the screen can download an app and hold their smartphone over the tags to make a purchase which is then delivered to their home or office. (At this time, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission doesn’t allow purchases directly from taxi screens.)

“This is really a powerful demonstration of the future and what can be done in terms of integrated in-taxi commerce,” says Jason Gross, director of strategy and marketing, VeriFone Media. “We call it WIT. People have gone from simply Watching to Interacting on the screens and, we hope, will eventually be transacting.”

We understand that the ‘mobile taxi shops’ were inspired by the virtual stores the supermarket chain Tesco launched in the Seoul subway system. Riders there could use their smartphone cameras to scan the codes of items advertised on station walls, then pay and have the purchases delivered.

Bill Wackermann, executive vice-president and publishing director of Glamour, wanted to replicate the Tesco project in New York, where the subways aren’t WiFi-enabled. He convinced L’Oreal SA, Glamour’s biggest advertiser, to become a partner in the taxi project.

Glamour worked with VeriFone to contract with taxis for the event. The taxis will pick up passengers only at the special locations in the Lincoln Center and Meat Packing districts, – major sites of Fashion Week activities – and Glamour will subsidize 100% of the costs for the taxis during the program.

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