Instant messaging. Fast food. Express delivery. Demand TV. If it’s not right here, right now then why bother? Most information is readily available at the click of a button and with 67% of Millenials choosing to purchase on e-commerce sites rather than in-store, are traditional shopping methods nearing extinction or are they just about to make a (fashionably late) comeback?
AR for Max impact
Historically shopping has been a low tech experience – in fact, its primary advantage over online remains ‘try before you buy’ and relies on the customer’s physical presence. But technology is beginning to blur these lines. Companies such as Max Factor are opting to use augmented reality as a means to improve in-store customer experience. They recently launched a portfolio of interactive beauty products available to shoppers using their smart phones. Once scanned by the app, the customer could browse beauty tips, demonstrations and even receive a before and after shot of how the selected product would look on.
Max Factor’s Global Brand Manager hit the nail on the head when she explained that “this is ground-breaking not only for the category, but for the whole shopper experience”. Augmented reality has been around for a number of years now but only recently has it become a hot topic, accounting for 10% of total social discussions during this month’s Advertising Week in New York, giving retailers the opportunity to learn more and really begin experimenting.
The unorthodox shopping experience is becoming increasingly popular with retail companies attempting to bring an online audience back into stores. House of Fraser are yet another company to embrace the idea of augmented reality, producing ‘shoppable windows’ to boost sales during last year’s Black Friday. Shoppers could scan items of clothing using their app, allowing them to explore the product and buy, without wasting time standing in a long queue.
This combination of involving technology with traditional shopping methods gives the customer the best of both worlds. Online shopping is a bit of a trust exercise, with the customer not being able to feel the material or test the fit of a garment. In-store shopping on the other hand, limits the amount of customization and access to extra information. Uniting the two means customers have complete confidence for every purchase. Let’s not forget to mention – augmented reality is fun. It is a chance to incorporate a bit of fantasy into what might otherwise be a mundanity, so what’s the harm in giving it a go?