Retail Restart

Lesson 10

Augmented Reality – and the future’s charm

Your online communication and services offer all the personalization, interaction and optichannel convenience? In your physical stores, your customers are being pampered with personalization from person to person, making each visit a unique experience? So there shouldn’t be any need for even more innovative technology here, right?! Wrong – if you really want to establish a place at the top, at least.

Remember the convenience part? Your competitors enable the clients to try on different pairs of glasses, different dresses and even various shades of make-up virtually, ease decisions on new furniture … all with AR (Augmented Reality). Evolution is happening fast, and you don´t want to be left behind!

Obviously, you don’t have to limit the use of these – or any – applications to the online space. They come in handy in physical stores as well, be it for increased hygienic needs or to add the convenience factor to the person-to-person sales consultation, for instance when equipping a house. Again, the experience can – and should – be seamless: The clients may start the purchase process with visualizations, in the comfort of their home, and then visit your physical store, to finalize or complement the acquisition. Give them the freedom they want – and make use of the data they offer you along the journey.

But you probably can’t do it all at once. Make the personalized, localized approach of prospects and customers the first step. This means centralizing, making use of all data that are still scattered across diverse sources. Don’t be scared of where to begin – make use of the expertise of professionals. We’re here for you.

Looking further ahead into the future, your brick-and-mortar stores may even transform to showrooms without big inventory – rather becoming an entertainment and experience place, where selected articles are being displayed, can be tested, ordered and delivered within 1-3 hours, while the clients are discovering other experiences, restaurants, cinemas etc. The path is clear: over-the-counter retail turns shopping more and more into an event.

And one more thing is becoming increasingly important: personalization is not a one-way street. While you shouldn’t try to look like a small, local business, your organization is still made of real people, from real neighborhoods, with real values. Make them the faces of your brand – because they are.

Be prepared to be asked about the sustainability of your products, about the working conditions of your employees, payment etc. More and more, consumers demand honest answers to these questions. Thus, some business models may have to undergo adaptation in this respect also – to survive and thrive in a more conscious world, accelerated in 2020. The future has already begun. Be a part of it. 

Recapping the lesson’s most important takeaways:

  • AR is no longer a niche service for furniture stores and the like, but is on the rise – for a broad spectrum, from make-up stores to optometrists.
  • Once you decide to offer such service, it should be available online and offline, with the possibility to start the interaction in one channel and to continue it in another.
  • You don’t have to do everything at once! Make the personalized, localized approach of prospects and customers the first step.
  • Be aware that personalization is not a one-way street; customers and prospects tend to ask more and more ethical questions for their decisions.

Would you like to learn more about personalized experiences for retail?

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