After a year and a half of a pandemic, Germany’s inner cities had only just gradually returned to life – Corona is threatening to spoil the Christmas business for many retailers for the second time. What can and should brick-and-mortar retailers do in the future to attract more people who are willing to buy into the shops? Augmented Reality applications could be part of the solution – if they combine the customer experience in the brick-and-mortar store with the retailer’s online offer, says guest author Sebastian Wernhöfer from Y1 Digital.
The past few months have shown that the most successful retailers are those who seamlessly connect their various sales channels – choose the hybrid approach, so to speak. In concrete terms, this means: The experience in the online shop corresponds to that in the store.
Brick and mortar retail has to work hard and optimize its appearance as quickly as possible so that the focus is on the customer: Tools offer them a seamless customer experience and the same usefulness, regardless of whether they are online or in-store. The retailer has the advantage of finding out more about the customer and using the advantages of online trading in brick-and-mortar stores.
© KRASS Optik
The online presence today has to offer more than a shopping cart: the shopping experience online and in the store must be similar.
Digital tools open up new avenues
Digital tools such as interactive steles, dynamically recorded screens and augmented reality applications via the customer’s smartphone make it possible to address them in brick-and-mortar stores as individually as in the online store and to give them just as much information and freedom of choice.
Interactive steles are digital concierges that record customer interactions such as clicks in the online shop and offer retailers more insights into customer needs. Such steles are also bridges between the online presence and the on-site offer.
The online and on-site applications should offer the same design, the same teasers and the familiar imagery that the business uses in advertising, in the store and on its own website. This high level of recognition is obvious; However, this is still not implemented by very few.
Every customer has the most powerful tool in their pocket
In addition to the same look, the technical link is essential: the display should contain the same collections and the same offers as in the online store. QR codes on the shop window ensure that passers-by are connected to the shopping cart of the online shop directly on their smartphone – ideally, standing in front of the shop window, select items of clothing, put them in the shopping cart and then order them directly with the next click.
Regardless of whether it is a shop or a POS: Products, brands and values should be actively experienced here and there – that is what the increasingly adventurous consumer wants to experience.
With their smartphone, the customer has a powerful tool in their pocket that can be used very well to digitally enrich the shopping experience on site. In addition to the connection of haptic goods and the online shop, the smartphone with a powerful camera and large display is the ideal tool for digitally enriching the product presentation on site with the help of augmented reality.
© KRASS Optik
The smartphone in retail: the chance to enrich the POS with Augmented Reality.
Magic mirrors not only for fashion freaks
Animations show the use of the product in different situations. Or further information such as statistics, graphics and reviews can be displayed.
Magic mirrors are another example of the use of augmented reality in stationary retail. These are mirrors that are equipped with cameras and a screen and through which customers can try out outfits on their own digitally captured mirror image, with one click and without having to change permanently. The retailer can offer many more variations digitally, which customers can then conveniently order and have them delivered to their home.
Problem solving for customers with severe visual impairment
A possible application of the Magic Mirror with Augmented Reality is conceivable with opticians: When trying on models of glasses, people with severe visual impairment have the problem that they can only see themselves poorly and therefore not be able to judge whether a model of glasses suits them.
With augmented reality, customers can try on a glasses frame and take photos of themselves. You can look at them later and then digitally test other frames as well. The digital mirror supports customers in choosing the right glasses frame.
© Y1 Digital aG
Virtual try-on of glasses: Augmented Reality application from Krass Optik
Example: Krass Optik
Augmented Reality applications also provide a bridge between stationary solutions and the online shop. Various online stores have set new standards here in the past few months. example Awesome optics: The chain store with over 80 branches nationwide relies on augmented reality in its online shop.
Customers can try on the different glasses models at home in front of their computer or on the go on tablet or smartphone – either with the help of their camera or with an uploaded portrait photo. An offer that is becoming increasingly popular. In the first half of 2021, the number of hits on this virtual try-on more than doubled compared to the previous year.
Younger people and women use the AR service more often
The service is used most by the 25 to 34 age group. Also exciting: shop visitors use it twice as often as men. Krass Optik also wants to offer customers a highly individual shopping experience online. An intelligent connection between the online store and the stationary shops should ensure close customer loyalty. Krass also simplified the ordering process accordingly.
Customers can not only select and try on glasses online, they can also buy their prescription glasses directly – but they can also make appointments online at the branch of their choice and then make their selection on site with favorite models reserved online. Because in the end, the following applies: the customer must like and use what they have experienced, whether on site or in the online shop.
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