Augmented Reality for education and engagement in Retail

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Augmented Reality for Retail and Marketing

Retail and Marketing sectors have reached a tipping point in 2018 for innovation with new technologies. That’s where this Info graphic can help – all the key data relating to Immersive Technologies in the Retail and Marketing sectors.

 

AR-VR in Retail: More than just a tool for marketing

Highlights of the Retail Trends Vol 2 of Deloitte

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have proved their ability to enhance processes across industry verticals. They’ve proven to reduce errors, prevent mistakes and increase productivity. However, perception of these technologies in the retail space has always been a marketing tool.

Let’s look at the multiple use-case(s) that they have:

Pre-plan shopping trips

AR-VR can provide complete fore-hand information on a product – which will motivate people pressed for time to complete the long-due shopping. Often, shoppers race against time and retailers are against inverse staff to consumer ratio. AR-VR can solve this issue, two-in-one. This increases the buyer conversion rate.

Information Delivery

Target the right customer with right information. AR-VR helps retailers send personalised and targeted ads, product and offer information while shopping. This will ensure filtering unnecessary spam ads and enable customer to take notice of quintessential information.

In-store engagement

In a multi-product store or a mall, AR and VR can be used to assist customer navigation; collect information on customer preference (through a poll/game). These apps take self-help counter help to the next level.

Product customisation

Customers will be able to try multiple colours, shapes without having to physically try each product. Also, the visuals offer options to mix and match styles.

Experiential campaigns

True potent of what a retailer is trying to sell is often seen only when the actual product is delivered. AR-VR helps bridge this gap is visualisation and actual product by giving a realistic experience of the product before delivery.

Low-cost visualisation of high-cost assets

High-cost assets often carry a high cost sales cycle because of customers’ hesitation in purchasing something they can’t properly visualise. Using VR, models of high-cost assets can be developed at a much lower cost, increasing accessibility.

Lo-fi testing: Testing multiple scenarios in virtual spaces to iterate on solutions and identify the best customer solution to mitigate implementation risk.

These use-cases bust the myth that AR/VR is not just a gaming tool.

Deloitte says: the most successful adopters of VR and AR will be retailers which use the technology to enhance their relationship with customers, rather than replace it.

Excerpt from the Deloitte Vol 2 Virtual and augmented reality – a guide for Australian retailers

How AR will change the face of Retail and Advertising

Sarmistha Banerjee, Head of Solutions, Appearition talks on AR in Retail & Advertising, brand building and the future of ads:

Retail is a very competitive industry. How can one survive the cut-throat competition? (Especially in today’s time when an idea/product can spread easily, how does one manage to retain the unique selling point?)

  • There is a big difference between shopping and buying. Pause and consider it. Shopping is largely “EXPERIENTIAL” whereas buying relates to a “TRANSACTION” activity.

For example, an online e-commerce transaction i.e. buying function is the end outcome of the in-store, online or personal browsing / shopping experience which can be tactile, fun, interactive or whatever. If retailers and marketers can hone in on this one thing: Moments that Matter, they are likely to generate a competitive edge over their competition by engaging customers in a meaningful way.

  • A cloud-based PoS and retail management platform for running retail business operations seems like a no- brainer. The system would allow tracking of sales and inventory, in real-time and enable that data to be used intelligently to make faster business decisions. For example: What product sells on a weekday / weekend or during seasonal /promotional events; there is no need to wait until end of day / month to determine what’s hot and what’s not. In a nutshell, the Sales Cycle becomes short and compressed; this leads to less wastage of resources.

Digital Transformation is the tech talk of the hour. How do you think retail sector is reacting to it? (Are they adopting, are they cautious etc)

  • Actually, Amazon has aced it. The rest are playing catch-up everywhere else. Balancing web-rooming and show-roomingis a journey for most retailers. This is highly dependent on the digital maturity of the business – how they overhaul and adapt their operations. Doing nothing will lead to inevitable demise.
  • For those who delve into luxe, integrating innovation, customer experience and brand value is synonymous. The “BRAND IS THE EXPERIENCE.”

Retail is largely a B2C industry. For those businesses supplying B2B2C, what are the challenges in supply-chain?

  • In retail, consumers on one side and providers/suppliers on the other (typical B2C) can be limiting. However, to achieve scale in a B2B2C scenario, the wholesaler must adopt business practices that connects them with multiple vendors seamlessly. Technology can therefore, be an enabler to build a retail centric ecosystem that leverages channels and community needs. With data intelligence, time to market and stocking products on shelves could be drastically reduced. B2B2C needs to compete hard for the ON-DEMAND economy and even capitalize on the SHARING ECONOMY.

How will AR/VR/MR help in branding and digital marketing?

    • The immersive / interactive mediums allow infinite possibilities to capture human attention and provide sensory experiences that are quite unique. We are only limited by our imagination as to how AR/VR/MR can exploit this technology medium to connect with customers in an intimate way with their psyche. First movers, and early adopters have obvious advantages if the marketing strategy is executed well.

In your opinion, how should one work towards audience engagement through advertisements?

    • Advertisements have become annoying and their messaging do not resonate with respective audiences any longer. That’s why people deploy Adbloc online in their browsers; people flick channels on television during Ad breaks; Print media needs innovation to keep up with new media ads; People are switching to paid streaming to avoid pop-up ads.

    Clearly, marketers need to engage people and brands differently which makes the products /services/information relevant for the consumer.

    Thus, advertising will become increasingly personalised in 2018. We’ve been on this trajectory for several years, but the use of audience data is now pervasive in all modes of digital advertising. In tandem with ad personalization, new interactive ad formats will aim to break through the noise and increase user engagement.

Augmented Reality – The future of retail industry

Home delivery, telephone order and e-commerce. What do these things have in common? They changed the way we shopped. Introduction of these technology/ideas, enhanced our shopping process. Similarly, Augmented Reality (AR) is set to alter the face of retail industry.

AR is highly scalable and has multiple uses across this industry. A look at some interesting ways in which AR is expected to grow:

Trial/testing of a product:

AR helps to bridge the gap between a customer’s perception of the product and the reality. This is the quintessential need for physical shopping or trial for a product.

Furniture: In 2013, IKEA – the Swedish retailer tested the ropes of AR, by launching an AR-based app. It used AR-overlay of 3D models of IKEA’s products on the real-time feed of the camera. It helps visualise how a product would look at a given space.

Shoes: Sneaker-maker Converse created an AR app in 2010. When one points a camera at their feet, the app overlays a projection of the shoe on their feet.

Clothing: Ever stood in a never-ending queue ahead of the trial room only to find the dress doesn’t fit you? Well, AR is about to change the game in clothing trials using overlay.

Japanese retail store – Uniqlo tried to address this concern by enabling an augmented trial room. This room had a mirror with an LCD screen that let you choose the apparel you wish to try. The app then overlays different colors of the clothing to help you make the best choice possible.

Virtual makeup trial: Sephora, the makeup retailer launched an app – ‘Sephora Virtual Artist’ that enabled overlaying different makeup looks. Once the customer scans the face using a camera, the app detects the different organs like nose, lips, eyebrows, skin etc and allows you to try a shade.

 

Product information:

When shopping at a busy super-market, we are often sceptical of a product’s ingredients. The aisles are long and nearest assistant is pre-occupied. What if one had a personal assistant to share further information on every product? AR does just that, acting as your personal shopping assistant. Several retail big-wigs like Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour have been testing and experimenting with AR in shopping.

Chinese e-commerce retailer – Yihaodian, opened virtual stores across the country. This enabled consumers to shop on the go. The app has virtual shopping aisles; customers can select and arrange for a home delivery.

AR is already booming in several such retail verticals. Add the magic of AR to your business. To know more, drop us a message.

This blog is a re-written excerpt from an article first published in the Augment.com

Image Courtesy (in the order of images used): 1, 2, 3, 4

AR in Packaging

Packaging to win

Think about the last time you visited a supermarket and stood in front of the milk section. Which of the products stood out for you? Did you give it much thought? There isn’t much price differentiation when it comes to largely homogeneous product categories like milk, where prices tend to vary by cents, rather than dollars (generally).

Now, imagine if you could use an application on your mobile device (conveniently located in your pocket) to scan a barcode and find out more about where your milk came from, some recipes from milk, or if there’s any special offers – customized to your requirements?

 

Packaging, more importantly, innovation in packaging has become very impactful as brands look to stand out in the clutter of modern day supermarkets. Similarly, attractive tap handle design at bars have shown to increase the likelihood of a patron selecting a particular beverage, even if only as a talking point for the evening.

In the world of fast moving consumer goods, where brands fight tooth and nail to stand out amongst the clutter, it’s not uncommon to find companies investing in merchandizing, ranging from attractive advertising banners to company representatives offering free samples. But merchandize can get damaged, staff need to be managed and surely, in 2017, there’s a better way?

 

Augmented Reality in packaging

In recent times, as consumers have become increasingly dependent on their mobile devices for reference, and in a world where every brand has released a mobile application in the interest of procuring data about their loyal users – there is a growing trend towards adoption of Augmented Reality as a tool to connect the physical (the product) and the digital (an experience about the brand) – turning packaging into a “multidimensional communication vehicle”.

Research from Deloitte showed that mobile is driving the convergence of consumer and shopper behavior and expectations, with more than one-third (34 percent) saying they use a smartphone to help choose brands during a shopping trip.

AR has proven to be a cost- & resource-efficient way to drive sales, and here are three key ways AR can help the packaging industry;

1 A dynamic marketing tool; Immersive experiences

For AR to work, a user downloads an application as directed and points the camera at the ‘target area’ on the packaging. The similarity of this function to taking a photo ensures that it’s not difficult for users to adopt and experiment. The target area can be anything on the packaging – a logo, a picture, a special creative or the entire packaging as well.

With a successful scan, an ‘experience’ plays – which can be a special deal for the user or any other communication. The ideal, naturally, is a message to encourage a purchase decision immediately.

Yasushi Kusume, innovation and creative manager for IKEA highlights three key goals of product packaging;

  1. It needs to stand out and grab the audience’s attention.
  2. It should encourage a purchase by conveying a unique and relevant value proposition.
  3. It should fit with your brand’s positioning and remain authentic to your overall stance.

 

AR has the capability to achieve all three goals, and much more.

Click here to know more about how Augmented Reality works

Click here to know the difference between AR, VR and MR 

 

2 “Hidden” communication to supplement packaging

A dichotomy in the packaging industry comes to the fore as brands are torn between a desire for minimalist design and impactful copy (to cater to the short span of human attention) and an awareness that purchase decisions are largely driven by reasonable amounts of information.

As such, AR enables brands to share “more info” on products, no longer restricted by the physical real estate of packaging.

Some examples of information that can be shared;

  • Allergy alerts (customized to the user’s account)
  • Sources of production
  • Recipe ideas
  • Any further collateral being used by the brand
  • Cross-promotions with other products under an umbrella brand

3 Additional touch point: Customized communication

Moreover, experiences can be customized, and data accumulated about users – thanks to existing tracking such as barcodes, QR codes and other unique IDs. Alexandre Carvalho, of Tetra Pak shared the following insight in the Tetra Pak 2017 Index;

“We sell, globally, a year, 108 billion units of products. So can you imagine if every single unit has a unique ID and you can use this to interact with consumers and gather data? And this is already happening,”

At Appearition, we have worked with clients in the packaging industry, and would be more than happy to share what we have learnt along the way. Here’s a quick sample of our work;

 

At Appearition, our Research and Development team is actively working towards improving our understanding of how these technologies can work to benefit your business. Contact us to find out more.

 

Source

Staff blog: eCommerce the Past, Present and Future

“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.”

Socrates 470-399 BC

Commerce is the exchange of funds for goods or services. eCommerce is the same exchange, but without the use of physical cash swapping hands.

In 1982, the United States rolled out the first EFTPOS machine. For the first time in humanity’s history, someone could [lawfully] walk into a store, buy something and take it away without any currency exchanging hands. This was made possible because the buyer was now in possession of a plastic card instead of cash. The plastic card, known as a payment card, allowed the buyer to initiate a transaction electronically to transfer money from their bank account to the store’s bank account. Ah yes, whilst eCommerce can do away with cash, money will always be needed to buy stuff.

Today eCommerce is just another part of life. Whether we are picking up groceries from the local supermarket, paying our GP to examine us or buying a gift for our loved ones, it is eCommerce that makes all this possible. Furthermore, with the emergence of the internet, eCommerce has gone to the next level. From the comfort of our couches we can now buy, sell and transact almost anything online. Services such as eBay™ and PayPal™ enable us to exchange goods and services for funds without the need for physical shop fronts. Once again eCommerce has enabled the buyer to electronically transfer funds to the seller in exchange for the goods or service they’re getting.

The convenience and simplicity of eCommerce has also brought with it the serious risk and threat of criminal activity. Today a thief no longer hides behind a ski mask and holds up banks, instead they hide behind a keyboard and seek to take money directly from your bank account. Electronic theft is a serious concern for the eCommerce industry. Organisations and governments from all over the world have adopted measures to protect and safeguard our electronic funds. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard version 1.0 (PCI DSS 1.0) was formed in 2004 by a group of organisations which include VISA card, MASTERCARD and American Express. The standard is managed and administered by a special council and dictates how payment card information must be transmitted and stored electronically. Whist this standard is not enforceable by law [yet], it is a strong influence for buyers having trust in a website. PCI DSS is continuously being reviewed and updated. Version 3.2 is planned for release in 2016.

So where will eCommerce takes us next? Well, the concept can never change: exchanging funds for goods or services electronically. However, the means we use to perform these transactions will certainly evolve. Enter the world of virtual reality and augmented reality… where life and technology are entwined. Imagine… you are walking in a market at the foot of the great pyramids at Giza. You walk past a stall selling beautiful statues of the ancient kings and pharaohs. One particular statue catches your eye. You look at it, touch it, pick it up, turn it around in your hands. It’s a work of art and you must have it. You turn to the store owner and you haggle for it until finally the store owner agrees to your price. He takes it away and wraps it up for you. You reach into your pocket, take out your wallet and look through it. You pull out 10 Egyptian pounds and hand it over to the store keeper, shake hands and say goodbye. You take off your glasses and your gloves and you find yourself sitting on your couch in your living room on the other side of the world. Three days later the doorbell rings and the UPS person hands you a package. You open it, unwrap it and there is your Egyptian statue, exactly as you saw it… what a beautiful world it will be!

 

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