Every single week, the gap intelligence team emabarks on a journey deep into the trenches of retail.  We study every aisle, peak around every corner, and collect every price point while we are there.  In addition to routine data collection, we rub elbows with store personnel, fight through the crowds around the X Box demonstrations, and notice the various displays merchants use to draw attention.

A couple for you this week that I thought were pretty neat:

We spotted an aquarium holding a very bored Beta fish at Best Buy.  The aquarium was on display with an assortment of waterproof cameras from Olympus and FujiFilm.  Turn your camera on, take a picture of the Beta fish, throw the camera at the Beta fish, and pull the camera out of the aquarium with absolutely no damage done.  

Waterproof, rugged, durable cameras are the new rave and manufacturers are going to “flood” (ha!) the market with waterproof models in the near future.  WIth that, interactive displays like this one at Best Buy will become far more common and as a result we expect to see a sharp increase in Beta fish job opportunities in the long term.

HP has made a huge investment in its business inkjet line of printers since their launch earlier this year.  Outside of big (and expensive) magazine and newspaper advertisements, HP has dominated end-cap space at all of the major retailers.  The running theme of HP’s message to customers is that its inkjet products are over 50% less costly to operate – in terms of both associated supplies and energy consumption.

While Kodak’s boastful low cost ink claims have filled headlines and reality television shows nationwide, few ripples have been made about HP’s assertions.  Just for fun, we ran HP’s $499 Officejet Pro 8500 Premier against the company’s own $499 Color Laserjet CM1312NFI MFP and quickly realized that HP’s claims are absolutely, 100% true.

Officejet Pro 8500 Premier – $1,340.71

Color Laserjet CM1312NFI MFP – $2,791.70