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The AR Builder Blog

Augmented Reality Just Got
More Real

Retail - The nexus where technology meets consumers (2013-09-14)

The retail sector is one that has for a long time driven the state of the art with regards to technology. So far all the signs are pointing towards this trend continuing with respect to augmented reality.

According to the keynote speaker of this year’s Shop.org annual summit Ray Kurzweil, provides his prediction that retail will be effected by the growth of fully immersive experiences provided by AR. In a recent news article Kurzweil goes on to explain that the current status of e-commerce does provide many benefits - such as recommendations, reviews, and competitor pricing. However, the area where web based e-commerce falls short is with regards to the product experience itself. You can’t try the clothing on using a website, nor can you easily reconcile the product that is in front of your right now with the right customer reviews or product information page. Combine the traditional with the contemporary - and you clearly have a winning formula.

An article posted by Reuters confirms Kruzweil’s stance - stating that shoppers in the SoHo district of New York shouldn’t be surprised if they are greeted by an app rather than a salesperson. The article goes on to detail a plethora of great apps that are being used to attract a younger, more tech savvy customer base to retail stores.

It’s no secret that people enjoy tactile experiences, however a new article from the Harvard Business Review has taken the analysis of this to another level. The article discusses a number of factors relating to the senses and goes on to explain how focus groups demonstrated increasing engagement with sales tactics in correlation with the number of different olfactory senses that were engaged.

Today’s shoppers exhibit an increasing thirst for knowledge when it comes product origins, especially when those products are food. Cisco’s newsroom recently outlined the extent of this with regards to the European horse meat scandal which saw frozen meat sales plummet across the region. The article goes on to detail how mobile technology in retail has been used to regain consumer confidence.

When all is said and done, the numbers don’t lie. Gartner predicts that 1 billion smart phones will be sold in 2014. According to Forrester Research: Understanding Online Shopper Behaviors, US 2011, May 17, 2011: in store shopping accounts for 92% of retail; 58% of consumers want to get in-store product information (Sterling Commerce) and 19 percent of consumers are already browsing their mobile devices while in-store.

To sum it all up - today’s smart phone equipped consumers are expecting more from their in-store shopping experiences; and there’s lots of them!