In the age of multi- and omni-channel retailing, all integrated and geared around the needs of the consumer, any technology that helps to bring all channels more closely together must be a good thing.
Step forward Augmented Reality (AR), which enables consumers to see 3D images of products. Activated through smartphone apps, AR can be used on many products; beer mats, posters, news articles etc. and is a new way to engage with customers.
By bringing products to life, it may be ideas for generating higher sales when stores are closed. And certainly differentiates products from the competition.
New Look and ASOS have been the most recent fashion retailers to use AR campaigns as a part of their overall offering. ASOS released its most recent monthly catalogue using AR to link customers to video on their smartphones.
This is critical in fashion where the biggest problem facing on line retailers is returns. Some brands suffer returns levels as high as 70%, so anything that gives customers a clearer idea of what a garment looks like must help to cut that.
The technology is also increasingly being used as part of retailers’ marketing strategies, so the technology is of interest to both marketers and merchandisers.
HMV is already using the technology to enable customers to scan Blu-ray films in store and see 3D clips from the movies displayed on smart phones and iPads.
Customer education is not required; most people are already used to 3D through their televisions, cinema and virtual reality dressing rooms.