Creating the ‘wow factor’

After reading a survey from the National Association of Realtors that found more than 74% of home buyers are using the Internet to find homes, realtor Philip A. Raices knew he had to do something dramatic to get home buyers and sellers away from their computers and into his office.

“Newspaper advertising doesn’t get attention anymore,” says Raices, president of Turn Key Real Estate in Great Neck, New York. He decided to forgo traditional media in favor of a digital window, which is a high-tech advertising alternative developed by Powerful Impact Media, a company owned by Mack Burnett III.

Turn Key’s storefront window became a giant computer screen. Thanks to hidden computers, laser beams, and programmed content, passersby could research the real estate firm’s properties while standing on the sidewalk. PIM’s cutting-edge technology allows customers to use their hands as a mouse. By waving a hand in front of a picture of a home on the digital window, a customer can bring up information about that home. This movement also lets the customer input their cell phone number for an immediate call from an agent about a property.

Raices, who says one home sale could pay for his digital window’s $25,000 price tag, believes the system gives his company’s image a boost. “My business has a strong presence on the Internet that brings people in, but this is something that further differentiates me from my competition.”

The ability to turn a passive display into an interactive customer experience that creates a “wow factor” is just one of the innovative offerings that PIM (, also in Great Neck, New York, is bringing to the market. Video jackets with flat LCD screens, digital videos on top of trucks, and outdoor video projectors are just a few of the products that Burnett uses to grab attention.

Another product is PIM’s new “digital clerk” device, which lets stores supplement their human clerks with electronic counterparts. “Let’s say you’re looking at a sneaker,” explains Burnett, 32, who has a computer science degree. “The shelf has a screen that is activated when you pick up the shoe. The screen can show a commercial for that particular model, cross-sell items to go with it, and tell you how many of the shoes are in stock in real time.”

Burnett founded the seven-person company in 2003. The idea for his venture came about after a lunch conversation with a colleague who was a technology consultant. “We would compare problems and projects and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could build such and such?’ We eventually took one of those ideas, a digital jukebox, and figured it out,” recalls Burnett, who projects PIM sales revenues will reach $500,000 this year.

Making an impact on consumers is an example of what PIM does best: It stays on top of what’s new. Joseph Anthony, CEO of the Vital Marketing Group in New York City, says PIM’s innovations will help stores sell more products and respond to current retail trends, which indicate shoppers are more informed and