Today our tiny but boundless team of Immersives gives you the second edition of Liked by Immersives: Retail Special. It includes all the new retail cases we’ve been reviewing since the last issue and is dedicated to two main topics: how different market players imagine the retail of tomorrow, and how futuristic tech can help retailers already today.
What it is A Mastercard-led collaboration to demonstrate capabilities of augmented reality shopping.
Why we like it In the rapidly changing landscape of retail, it’s mainly aggressive digital-first start ups and online retailers disrupting and paving the way forward, while larger offline retailers warily following. We understand that retail tech revolution is finally coming and is here to stay when businesses that serve the retail start to innovate and move the industry forward. And it takes more than one leader, like in this case, MasterCard, Qualcomm, the world leader in mobile processors, and ODG, a large smart glasses manufacturer, to create their vision of the imminent domination of augmented reality in retail.
What it is A chain of virtual stores around China.
Why we like it Why spend on brick-and-mortar when can get the same results with pure AR without paying the rent? — wisely thought at Yihoadian, a Chinese online grocery store, and opened a thousand (yes, this many) new stores everywhere in China, consisting of... just a sticker with a QR code. Visitors of parking lots, empty squares, etc., can scan those codes, and walk through a virtual supermarket revealed in front of them, where every product is shoppable and will be then brought to the front door via a delivery service.
What it is World’s first virtual reality department store.
Why we like it Simply because they were first to introduce VR shopping. This was just an experiment set in Australia, but how beautiful and innovative it was! What’s especially interesting about it is a function called Sight Search: a shopper can look at an item for few seconds to choose it. We suppose, this is equivalent to few minutes of indecision in front of a real shelf, when a shop assistant arrives with “Can I help you with this?”. In digital, everything happens quite faster than in real world.
What it isA short dystopian film set in a supermarket of the future.
Why we like it A middle-aged working class woman rides a bus, shops in a supermarket and gets her identity stolen. This short film is a great prophecy of how our nearest future will look like with the development of augmented reality technologies. What’s even more interesting for us, the filmmaker is quite inventive in showing the future of retail and marketing as a whole, and how they will be integrated in our daily life. It’s 5 minutes well spent.
Why we like it This collaboration between a retail chain and a celebrity hair stylist features augmented reality that allows visitors to try on new hair styles, lipsticks, and makeups before applying them. But why we really like this project is because of its overall vector: the merger of retail, services, and experience.
What it is A store of tomorrow functioning today in Milan.
Why we like it The supermarket of tomorrow as seen by this joint task force of respectable collectives is basically one giant interactive installation, and this corresponds to our own vision of future retail. What’s even more interesting, the interaction takes place between people and information about food, rather than between people and grocery itself. Information society, this is what it’s called.
What it is An experimental store for a British mobile operator
Why we like it This retail space of the British mobile operator O2 is less conceptual than the Supermarket of the Future by Coop Italy. However, it’s fully charged with every possible immersive and interactive retail tech that’s available now.
Why we like it This is the grocery store of the future — digital, seamless, very high tech thanks to machine learning and computer vision. No cash registers, no shop assistants. Come and see — grab and go.
It only seems that future technology works great for the experiential part of shopping — immersive stands, product stories, brand messaging: everything to wow a customer into buying. What is not so ready, is buying itself: Amazon reportedly stumbled into glitches in AI-checkout, causing online retail giant to postpone official opening of the store.
However, we are sure they will overcome this sad drawback and get us the grocery store of tomorrow we all deserve.
Why we like it This online fashion retailer has recently bought a British brick-and-mortar boutique Browns to pursue its omni-channel strategy. What they did in there was the future of retail in the eyes of a fashion store.
The shop now is very much integrated with Farfetch’s own app and offers several interactive and immersive retail technologies to engage with customers. But foremost, as fashion retailers, they just made their future of retail elegant and beautiful.
What it is Five immersive retail projects chosen by Walmart’s tech incubator.
Why we like it Walmart bets on immersive retail, and this is encouraging. Their startup accelerator company, Store No. 8, chose 5 VR technologies that would shape the future of retail, as seen by the world's largest retailer:
• 8i x Bonobos: holograms of real models with customizable dresses.
• Fyusion X ModCloth: 3D photographs made by common smartphones allowing users to understand and experience an item without having to see it in person.
• Obsess X Rebecca Minkoff: a fully customizable VR store.
• Nurulize: shared online VR experience (allows, for example, to show an item to a friend).
• Specular Theory: a safety tool and educational v-commerce platform using the power of VR.
Why we like it Walgreens approached AR by adding a promo layer in a physical store. Their partner, Aisle411, a loyalty app, created an experience that is part loyalty and discount program and part immersive product finder. There was also an interesting suggestion: to mount a tablet with the app on a shopping cart.
What it is Transparent LCD screens that tell stories about sneakers.
Why we like it A transparent LCD/OLED screen can work magic in front of a product if the content is done right. The screen creates a layer of augmented reality around the product allowing to tell more and engage more. Here’s the latest example at Nike SOHO Store. Every sneaker has a story, and this one is very well told.
What it is A concept for an interactive glass storefront.
Why we like it This is yet another concept of a shop window that can tell more about products, current promos, and sales — and at the same time offer such level of interactivity that the window itself becomes a selling point.
This tech works like magic: put a product inside a box, and a great show appears around the product in thin air!
Well, the trick is in a special projection technology and a patented foil, but this is almost completely unnoticeable for a viewer.
What is really visible is the magic of content creators that make the product a real hero.
And since we’re talking about future tech available today, here’s a demo of a holographic box on, yes, Iron Man.
Projection Mapping Display
This technology is no different from the previous two in terms of what it does: makes the product stand out, tells its story, makes customers want more.
Here, an overhead projector does the trick. The tech in the example is also much retail-oriented, with intellectual mapping functionality, remote content updates and other useful features that allow value-for-money multiple-locations deployment.
That’s it for this week. Feel free to contact your Immersives with any questions and comments.
Please do contact us in case you’re so inspired that you’re ready to send a project from this bulletin as a reference or a proposal to your client. We are happy to consult you on feasibility and implementation details beforehand.