If you’ve been attending any Retail-focused events lately, you’ve surely noticed that tech pop ups in pretty much all the conversations.
As Forbes pointed out, last week’s Shoptalk Europe was all about how Visual Shopping solutions like Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence create real value for retailers, from product discovery to advanced personalization to new types of customer insights collected.
As part of the highly anticipated talks, leading tech enablers like Catchoom and Google shared the stage to inspire brands on what key benefits tech can bring to their customer experience.
In this post, we summarize the most interesting takeaways, so read on!
What are Visual Shopping solutions?
Visual Shopping solutions leverage the hottest technologies, like Augmented Reality, Image Recognition, and Artificial Intelligence, to empower companies to create better retail experiences.
Whether you connect physical stores or ads to your digital content, let online shoppers visualize your products, or improve search results in eCommerce, Visual Shopping helps your shoppers make faster and better decisions.
What are the benefits of Visual Shopping solutions in Retail?
Holistic: trigger engagement throughout the whole customer journey
For quite some time, everyone has been talking about the importance of ‘omnichannel retail’. In a traditional sense of the concept, this includes providing the same great experience to customers regardless the channel they choose.
Now, the industry believes that what really matters is not to think in channels, but to put the customer at the heart of your strategy instead.
The power of Visual Shopping solutions is that you can break down the silos between your ‘mobile strategy’, ‘in-store strategy’, ‘eCommerce strategy’, ‘home versus out-of-home’, and so on.
Instead, you can trigger and enable interactions with a high emotional value at any touchpoint, and lead the person through the customer journey. Not only up until the moment they buy the product, but even when it comes to the post-purchase experience.
Example: mymuesli uses Catchoom’s solutions to let shoppers buy their personalized blends in a fun way. Whether they see a print ad, they are at the store, or hold a package at home, they simply scan the lovely icons representing the ingredients to customize and order their personal muesli mixes in a jiffy. (Read the case study).
Measurable and actionable: capture new types of customer insights
Getting a more focused picture of customers and their shopping behaviors was a key topic at Shoptalk.
Retailers still encounter ‘blind spots’ in customer insights, especially when it comes to offline touch points like stores or print ads.
“How can I better capture people visiting my physical stores? How can I know what they are interested in? How do I know if someone is visiting my brand’s site after seeing a print ad?”
Thanks to solutions like image recognition, companies can design experiences where customers are encouraged to interact with physical objects like product packaging, PoS banners or print catalogs.
This way, retailers have an opportunity to capture those customers digitally: motivate them to leave their data to enter a promotion, create wish lists, or track what products get the most interactions.
Example:the Shopping Night Barcelona invited shoppers to scan actual store banners around the mall to access special offers by the brands.
Trustworthiness: create a more transparent, relatable brand
Customers now expect information to be accessible at all times. In our mobile-first age, shoppers always have their phones at hand, even in stores.
As Google’s Director of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality put it in his talk at Shoptalk, providing customers with easier access to information such as product reviews can make a brand seem more trustworthy.
In fact, 62% of shoppers want to be able to scan a product on their mobile to see product reviews and recommendations.
Instead of letting them stray, you can make sure you give them enough information and inspiration to help them make a purchase decision.
Example: Y&R created an app for in-store shoppers at supermarket chain Migros. Flipping through the store’s catalog and walking down the aisles, they can scan products to learn more about them or receive some cooking inspiration.
Convenience: save time and eliminate doubts
Shoppers not only spend money, they also invest their time into making a purchase. And time and patience are slowly becoming the scarcest resources in today’s society.
If you simplify the process as much as possible and eliminate potential delays and deal breakers, you have a much higher chance to win a happy customer.
Example: many furniture companies like Houzz offer Augmented Reality apps that help customers visualize their inventory in their homes. This way, they spare the hassle of making a store visit, carrying a heavy couch home, only to realize it’s too big, too small, or doesn’t match their home’s design. Less guesswork leads to better satisfaction and reduced returns.
Google’s final advice to the retailer audience at Shoptalk was to plan for great content and find a great partner with the right tech.
We couldn’t agree more, adding one more element to the equation: utility. Do not implement tech simply to keep up with the ‘Joneses’ of your business.
Instead, think about how to add repeatable value to the shopping experience, true to your brand and specific customer segment, then find the best solution provider that can help make your ideas a reality.