Trendwatching #3—Digital Transformation in Retail! AR Solutions
Retail, just like every other industry, is changing and evolving, especially when it comes to digital innovations. You can see it happening especially with augmented reality. Zion Market Research estimates, that the global AR market will rise up to \\\\$133 billion by 2021. No wonder it has already started influencing how customers approach their shopping experience. And retailers have to listen unless they want to stay in the dark ages of old-school and non-profitable brick-and-mortar stores. According to the survey performed by JDA, digitalization is a high priority for the 70 percent of executives, who plan to increase their digital investments in 2018.
“One of the biggest lessons of 2017 is for retailers to be where their customers want them to be, engage with them where their customers want them to engage them and make the customer experience seamless across all touchpoints and channels.”—says Rupa Ganatra, founding partner of Millennial 20/20. Source: Forbes
So how can your business benefit from AR? Well, a recent research by Retail Perceptions shows that 61 percent of shoppers prefer to shop at stores that offer AR over the ones that don’t. And the options of how you can use it to your benefit are practically limitless. First of all, with the properly customized AR app, you can build awareness and engagement around your product. You can build a relationship with a customer by improving the user experience and therefore enhance loyalty and a number of conversions to your store. Plus you can significantly boost your sales.
We’re yet to discover what more this rapidly-changing retail environment has to offer however, it’s important to stay in a loop and start implementing AR now. After all, all the retail giants are doing it!
Here’s the list of the most exciting—according to us—AR innovations that are already changing the world of retail as we know it:
Carrefour China together with SGS—a global expert in testing, inspection and certification—created an augmented reality solution to promote good quality food and enhance its safety. The app called Visual Trust allows shoppers to scan each product and learn about its origin, quality certificates, test results, locations and pictures of farms, as well as nutritional advice. “A trusted supply chain means full supply-chain transparency from farm to plate.”, said Herve Martin, National Food Safety and Quality Director for Carrefour China (source). This kind of supply-transparency makes the consumers trust the company more, come back and recommend it to their friends. A perfect retail solution, not only for an industry giant like Carrefour.
Testing products in your own home before getting to the actual store? Yup, not only IKEA does it. Shopify partnered with one of its customers—Magnolia Market—to implement the AR technology into their e-commerce platform. Customers can now check how any item would look like on the shelf or the table, see it from different angles and in a natural light. Shopify took interest in developing VR systems as well. The platform is basically providing high-tech solutions for the e-commerce smaller companies, helping them join the digital transformation.
The e-commerce giant is looking into developing more AR solutions to make the platform more engaging to the customers. One of them is a feature that allows you to check (before making a purchase) how a set of wheels would look like on your car. Another one is aimed at all the eBay customers; it will allow you to quickly measure which type of a packaging box you need to fit in your item. By hovering your phone over the parcel, the app will place a suitable digital box over it. The above is only a tip of an iceberg of what eBay has in store for its digital transformation. This includes enhancing their AI systems and ending their relationship with PayPal to replace it with a different program that will encourage sellers to keep their money on the platform.
Sephora was the first company from the beauty industry to recognize the potential of AR and AI. Its mobile app called Virtual Artist recognizes your features and helps you try out different makeup products and shades, in the comfort of your own home. It also teaches you how to apply makeup and tells you which products were used in the process after you’re done. “What’s common across all of our digital efforts is that we’re not just doing technology for the sake of it or because it’s cool or new. Every digital product or tool or experience that we introduce is done to make shopping for our consumer more fun and more efficient.”, said Mary Beth Laughton, Sephora’s executive vice president of omni retail. (Source)
Speaking of choosing shades, Dulux Visualizer App enables you to pick and match paint colors and see how they would look like on your walls. Now you can find a color inspiration literally everywhere—at the friend’s house, on your pillow or the piece of furniture. And if you’re not sure about that shade of pink—share the picture or a video of your creation with your friends and get their opinion! Redecorating has never been easier and more fun.;)
Following the trend of the digital revolution in retail, we designed and developed a demo AR app—Smartshop. It was created to demonstrate the augmented reality’s vast potential for retail; from indoor navigation, interactive marketing, training, gamification and more. You can download it from App Store and try it out at home! However, Smartshop is just a starting point, an inspiration. Learn more about it on our website. And who knows…it might motivate you to use AR in your business. If so, get in touch and let’s boost your sales!
Senior Communication Specialist