Pushing the technology envelope in-store
Half of consumers who shop in-store are more likely to shop at certain retailers based on the technology used to assist them. Brands are manipulating the use of tech in their stores to improve the customer experience.
But how are some retailers using more complex technology in these traditional settings? Below are some out-of-the-box ways brands have used technology in-store.
Virtual and augmented reality
55% of consumers think virtual-reality applications will influence their buying decisions in some way, and one third of consumers said they would be likely to shop more with e-commerce retailers that offer VR features (Walker Sands 2016).
Augmented reality has become bigger than ever, and Google’s Tango, it is easier and more accessible for brands and retailers to implement in their own stores.
WayfairView is a new Tango-enabled app that lets users place 3D virtual models of Wayfair products in real settings. By selecting images of furniture or decorations from the online catalog, they can position the objects on their room’s floors, walls and ceilings to see how it would look in real life.
Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro
Lenovo announced their first Tango-enabled consumer smartphone. The $499 phone, which will go on sale in September, is predicted to popularize augmented reality and make it more accessible; it is much more affordable than the traditional stand-alone devices such as the $3,000 Microsoft HoloLens.
Lowe's Vision app
Not only is Lowe’s selling the Phab 2 Pro in its stores, they also created their own app with Tango that lets users place virtual flooring, wall trim, furniture, and appliances in their own rooms.
Combining the convenience of online and offline
Simple features, like trying on at home and buying online, online purchase and in-store pickup, or choosing your own delivery option is hugely convenient for consumers, and can even make them purchase more. 69% of shoppers who used click and collect purchased additional items while picking up in store.
Warby Parker's home try-on program
Perhaps the best example, Warby Parker made buying glasses online easy with a free try-on service, allowing consumers to choose 5 frames to be sent to their home to see which fits them best. The company is now valued at over $1.2 billion.
Best Buy's branded stores within a store
At a consumer electronics retailer, the experts on the products are the manufacturers. Best Buy took advantage of this, creating shops within their shops, “shop-in-shop”, so customers could get answers directly from the source. Many of Best Buy’s major suppliers such as Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, AT&T, and LG are sold via shop-in-shop concepts within its stores.
ASOS and DPD delivery service
It’s frustrating for consumers when they cannot control when their new purchase will be delivered. Knowing this, ASOS partnered with DPD so consumers can choose the day and the hour they want their clothes delivered. The Your DPD app allows customers to set their own delivery preferences, including the ability to request that drivers always avoid certain times of the day. It uses geo-location based technology to alert the DPD driver when an app user returns home. If a parcel couldn’t be successfully delivered earlier in the day, the driver can then make another delivery before they finish their round.
Real robots help you shop
The use of bots has increased in customer service, and it’s a great way to assist customers at odd hours or answer simple questions. Though most of these AI bots are used for online shopping some retailers have experimented with robots helping customers in-store while they are shopping.
Using NLP, this robot assistant in a California store could greet customers, ask if they need help and guide them through the store to the product.
SoftBank’s Pepper robot
Softbank, a Japanese parent of Sprint, built and tested a Pepper robot, which was designed to discern emotions in human speech and body language and respond accordingly.
Going above and beyond
These innovative incorporations of technology in the store are definitely experimental, but show a good idea of how drastically different the shopping landscape could change. But each of these cater to consumers’ needs, whether it’s simple delivery services to advanced augmented reality.