A Look Ahead at 2014 - Augmented Reality
By Adam Creamer
The calendar may have just rolled over to October, but 2014 will
be here before you know it. We decided to take a look at the current state of
retail, and spot trends that will flourish in 2014. What we ended up with is a
series of posts that will run through October, and maybe a couple in November.
To kick off the series we will take a look at augmented reality. There is a lot
to talk about for this topic, so we split it up into two posts.
First up is Google Glass, the wearable device that does just about everything
your smart phone can do without hands. In today’s world many people enter stores
knowing exactly what they want, and the Glass device plays right into this.
Using GPS (and possibly WiFi) the device knows when the wearer enters a store
and pulls up their shopping list automatically, but it doesn’t stop there. The
device also displays the layout of the store and automatically maps the shortest
distance from item to item. Now I can keep going on and on about the
capabilities of this device, but I figured I would let this video do the talking
(things get interesting around 1:35):
So, what effect will this have on retail besides making shoppers
more efficient? This is the device that stores with omni-channel strategies have
been waiting for. Your omni-channel plan most likely consists of placing tablets
throughout your store so people can shop online or check reviews easier. As the
video showed, though, this device can recognize what different items are and
checks them off of the persons list. If it can do this, why can’t it also pull
up customer reviews and the “people who bought this also bought...” lists that
are so vital to online sales. This device has the potential to be a great
success, or a massive failure. Either way it will make 2014 an interesting year.
As the Glass device brings online shopping benefits to stores, new software is
bringing in-store benefits to the web. One program, for example, utilizes a
computer’s webcam along with their own database to accurately measure a person’s
body to ensure a perfect fit, something that is nearly impossible to do online.
Another program allows users to upload a few images. Using these images the
system not only suggests what sizes will fit best, but also makes the shopper
the “model” on the website. This way they can see how things will look on them
without the need to go in-store.
The effects of this type of software on retail are very similar to the effects
of Google Glass. In a world where omni-channel strategies are taking hold, the
goal is to make the in-store and online experience as similar as possible.
Giving shoppers the assurance that what they buy online will actually fit (not
to mention the ability to see what it looks like on) is huge, and will be a big
step forward for retail. As online shopping continues to grow 2014 will be the
year where augmented reality helps many retailers step up their game.
Read Parts 2 and 3
here on their blog.
VP, Product Strategy