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AR: CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT EXPERIENCES RETAILERS IGNORE AT THEIR PERIL...

Simon Brooksbank / 2 months ago

The global market for AR in retail will reach $1.6 billion by 2025; a gargantuan level of growth which retailers need to wholly embrace or risk being left behind. With ‘the death of the high street’ headlines more commonplace than ever in a challenging retail landscape, adopting Augmented Reality to transform the customer experience in-store, may hold the key to invigorating shoppers’ buying experiences.

And is that not what retail is all about? The customer experience? Engaging shoppers? Retailers have spent years refining clever targeted marketing strategies to drive loyalty and interest in their store and products, and now some pioneers are taking it to the next level with augmented, immersive and memorable personalisation strategies that particularly appeal to a newer generation of shoppers.

The beauty of AR is that it's tech that can work across both in-store and online engagement, the latter by giving customers an in-store experience from the comfort of their own home. In-store, AR can be used to make the point of sale experience far more compelling and interesting for the customer, not only driving ‘novelty’ footfall but also leading to increased customer dwell time through engagement.

It also gives the kids something else to do when they start getting bored... what price would you pay for that?

Department stores Selfridges and John Lewis have also utilised Augmented Reality both in-store and online, acting as an engagement tool and an opportunity to enhance customers retail experience. Selfridges recently launched an AR experience with footwear brand, Auxilliary, using Facebook’s Spark AR platform app. The campaign called ‘Continuous Play’ invites customers to explore the product line in 3D, exploring different motion, spaces and perspectives which are not visible to the naked eye.

Additionally, the luxury department store brought Augmented Reality to its London flagship store in September by displaying ‘Digital Falls,’ an AR artwork by Jon Emmony in collaboration with Visualise. The show reimagines the five-storey Selfridges store as a column of water filled with sea creature sculptures, that shoppers can explore and discover in Augmented Reality.  

John Lewis pleases makeup fanatics with its latest Virtual Lipstick Experience an AR app that enabled customers to digitally try on over 300 lipstick shades from various brands using the camera on their smartphones. Also this the summer John Lewis it tested an AR-driven ‘Visualise Your Space’ solution in its stores where customers were able to plan and visualise how furniture might look in their own homes.

We head back to the focus of customer experience when looking at the use of this technology when we learn that that three quarters of consumers now expect retailers to offer an augmented reality experience - an incredible statistic and one that is sure to be a wake up call for those retailers who are lagging behind. Using this new technology to engage with customers, provide them with an immersive experience and offer information back based on content, images and product recommendations that resonate with them at that moment in time is where AR turns CX into customer loyalty.

In order to facilitate the demand for trusted AR content creators, Blend Market has launched an immersive content marketplace. This means brands can have easy access to a network for professional AR influencers and creators. Just post your brief at Blend Market to get started. If you’d like to find out more or need some help with your first brief, contact simon@blend.media