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Innovation in Retail

By IMA on Sep 26, 2016

Constant connectivity, the need for contextual relevance, and a multi-screen world are changing consumers’ shopping habits. Interactive 3D video, 360 degree views, Augmented Reality(AR) and projection mapping are just a few of the latest technologies bringing products alive. As the digital and in-store experiences cross over, and the gap closes between an on-screen image and the experience of holding a product in a store, what exciting new possibilities are opening up for forward-thinking retailers? How can we take advantage of these within a retail environment?

Reality becomes Virtual

Fully immersive virtual reality (VR) headsets now allow you to amble around your favourite retail store from the comfort of your own home. The technology allows consumers to explore the ‘virtual store’, picking up items like one would in reality, choosing size, style, colour. Taking the item to the cashier to pay completes the experience; your item will be delivered just like if you were to order online.

Why do the advantages of virtual shopping have to stop after payment? By adding something like an eye tracking device to the VR headset we can now track and collate data from consumer’s movements, to then inform future store environments, design layouts and user experience. A good example of this is Skoda’s 2015 ‘Fight for Attention’ campaign. The user’s web cam tracked their eye movements, logging the semi-conscious focus and preference of the consumer. We like to call it the ‘science of design’.

Mapping out the Future

Projection mapping is becoming increasingly popular as it becomes more effective. Light projected onto any viable surface, usually in the form of moving video imagery or motion graphic animations, creates a new dimension; allowing images and projection to be used in more imaginative ways, propelling retail design and experience into the future. The ability to produce fluid, controllable and immersive environments can satisfy the increasing consumer hunger for responsive design and real time information.

As technology is ever evolving, you can now also project into direct sunlight without affecting video quality. Projection mapping in this way can be incredibly effective on retail windows or innovative product placement advertising.

The Pokémon Precedent

Augmented Reality goes hand in hand with interactive capabilities using your smart phone. Pretty much everyone in the modern world has a mobile device, which makes AR very popular through social networks. The most recent trending AR experience was Pokémon Go which proved so popular it broke the Apple App store record for most downloads in its first week. AR is another great way for the client to interact with a product and increase sales in an innovate way.

Augmented reality works on the premise of a code- scanned in via a smart device- prompting the appearance of onscreen images or video animation but superimposed onto the existing ‘real life’ view. Scan the code placed on your particular product using your smart device and you can play an interactive game using that particular surface, or unlock various offers and options. Whereas regular installs may fail to capture interest, this technique keeps the consumer’s time more invested. It creates the immediate and impactful content needed for that all important buzz from online discussion and sharing.

With countless advancements and a new consumer hunger for a more immersive experience, our retail marketing needs to stay at the forefront of innovation, with the time and research properly invested in the many bespoke possibilities.