The future of retail is literally at your fingertips.
As advancements in technology become more integrated in our lives, so has the opportunities to engage with our customers in real time.
Integrating technology in retail, from monitors with motion sensors to embedded beacons and NFC chips, capitalizes on a opportunity to make a lasting impression, answer important questions and guide the customer through the buying experience.
However, as with all technology is has the chance of failing. ugh…
Monitors playing custom content built into retail displays are fantastic… till it stops working.
Today, we have pocket sized monitors to rely on. Which solves more than one of today’s challenges.
Our world is changing
As a society, we’ve collectively experienced a cultural shift in 2020 that’s caused us to reevaluate nearly every aspect of our lives. From small changes like washing our hands for a few seconds longer to more impactful ones like transitioning to a work from home life; we are adapting to a future where health, safety and social distancing are at the forefront of our collective psyche.
So, it’s no surprised that retail is embracing technological advances to engage and improve the customer shopping experience.
In this blog we’ll explore Augmented Reality. With an overview of what it is, how it works and the possibilities of it being implemented in retail.
What is AR?
Augmented Reality (AR) is the use of superimposed digital content (images, sounds, videos) over existing (real) environments. Using a device capable of engaging with the content, for example smartphones, can turn a simple postcard into a interactive playground all on a phone/tablet.
As opposed to Virtual Reality, which put the user into the environment (digital content) rather than bringing the environment to the them.
So, what does it mean for retail? A future of boundless possibilities.
Why AR over VR?
Both are phenomenal technologies that have capabilities of changing and improving our lives.
However, there are vast differences in their uses and although, complete immersive is a great innovation, it presents challenges.
Virtual reality relies on blocking the existing world and transplanting the user into an entirely new environment. Perfect for testing products in the Canadian winter while living in Arizona. However it requires space to keep the user within specified boundaries. Either roped off or within a custom structure, limiting the number of interactions.
Pushing the development costs aside, setting up and maintaining a virtual reality booth is costly in terms of space, structure (booth, motion sensors, headset), and man power. These devices will require a dedicated assistant to instruct and guide shoppers through the experience.
A vote for AR
With nearly 50 years in the retail industry, we’ve seen the retail industry change and evolve. And as new innovations in materials and manufacturing push design, so has technology. That why we’re casting our vote for AR for these 3 reasons:
2020 changed our world and the long term affects are still unknown. What we do know for the relative future is the avoid unnecessary contact where possible. And that’s where AR shines. Shoppers can use their own devices to engage with the content. “… AR features … allow customers to virtually try-on shoes and measure feet are game-changers that can boost revenues and sales.
As the lines between the real world and digital begin to blur, so has the demand for an omnichannel approach.
AR allows shoppers to learn about your products in a fun, interactive space. It taps into the joy behind the gamification experience.
Let’s be honest. It all depends on how much it’ll cost.
A great innovation can’t be successful unless it’s also affordable.
Luckily with AR, the cost lies in developing the digital content that shoppers can launch via a custom app or by scanning a code embedded in the products graphics.
Creating content doesn’t have to be a chore.
Integrating AR into your existing retail marketing strategy can be as easy as embedding a scannable code into you graphics that links to an existing web presence, ie: website, instructional videos, testimonials.
No one will ever know
As great as Augmented Reality is, it serves no purpose if shopper don’t know it exists.
Developing a display that’s custom to the AR can highlight and enhance the overall experience. Ensuring shopping know AR is an option and more important how to use it.
Reach out to us if you’re interested in learning more about Augmented Reality and how it can be used in your next retail marketing program.
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