AR Immersion 2010: Summary: Retail & E-Commerce

The Retail & E-Commerce session at AR Immersion 2010 featured a panel of AR experts including Sonya Rosas (Digital Out of Home Strategist, IPG Emerging Media Lab), Mike Marcinkowski (Senior Engineer, Gillette, P&G), John Leahy (CEO, ImmediaC), Michael Warton (CEO, YOUReality), and Total Immersion’s Max Polisar.

Rosas described how AR is used to enhance traditional campaigns. In the case of print this includes UGC/UGF contests, Facebook applications where users can compete with their friends, and other attractors including try-before-you-buy eyeglasses, watches, and full product demonstrations such as the Olympus PEN E-PL1 3D demo. AR can also be used to enhance a product or gift card purchase, with additional interactive features that buyers experience at home after using the product. In the retail environment, “Location, location, location” is the rule, as crowds gather around end cap displays when shoppers share the AR experience with each other, drawing more attention to the product on the shelf. She noted that she is most often asked when mobile AR is coming to retail, but the technology is already here.

Polisar pointed out the important distinction between a shopper and a consumer, such as a mother vs. her children when making supermarket purchases. Thus, retailers are best served by creating overall, 360, integrated marketing experiences that reach customers through promotions via email, social media, text message, and in the store environment.   Here, AR has finally reached maturity in the consumer market in expanding verticals and industries, giving the customer a reason to pause on a particular brand.

Marcinkowski outlined the design of a promotional AR campaign for the product launch of the Gillette® Fusion ProGlide.  As a new product, the Gillette® Fusion ProGlide would be well served by the fresh technology factor of AR.  It would also be critical to educate consumers about the product and demonstrate the shaving experience, as this was the foundation on which the product was developed. This would be accomplished by using AR in kiosks and roadshows, creating a large truck of kiosks to showcase and educate consumers on the product’s features, and later rolling out a campaign to print as well. AR can play a critical role in increasing “FMOT” and “SMOT”, the first and second moments of truth, when a customer first sees a product and when they first pick it up and interact with it—both of which increase purchase conversion.

Warton discussed AR as a vehicle for retail visualization in the home furnishing industry, particularly in increasing sales conversion in online purchases. As customers are most concerned with how a product will look in their homes, AR has the potential to change the entire shopping dynamic by both creating an emotional connection with customers and creating an unlimited showroom space that is not constrained by the typical restrictions of both brick-and-mortar and online environments. AR increases the amount of content available to a buyer, which is particularly important for complex products. The user has a tiered experience, controlling the level of interaction they need. Warton expects that the furniture industry will change much like the auto industry has in displaying products.

Leahy discussed the current and future potentials of AR fitting rooms. The allure of virtual fitting rooms serves both the online shopper (as consumers complete an increasing amount of their purchases online than offline—24.6% more according to CNBC) and the digital savvy, young consumer, who major retailers are striving to reach. Online fitting and sizing with AR will both improve the customers’ purchase experience and address retailers’ primary concern of reducing the number of returns. There is also a tremendous potential for gathering data and analytics, creating return customers, and encouraging shoppers to spend more time in an online store, which increases their willingness to purchase.

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  1. […] AR Immersion 2010: Summary: Retail & E-Commerce […]

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