Customers now expect to be able to shop 24×7, discover and buy products on multiple online and offline channels, look for ideas and inspiration on brands’ social media channels, increasingly shop on mobile devices and demand more customized experiences when they walk into a store.
Therefore, now, more than ever before, retail brands need to become more customer-centric and analytically-driven. Retail brands realize that to win and retain loyal customers, they need to focus more on the customer relationship than the products and access to big data. And the new marketing technologies are helping them make this transition easier.
Fashion wear: Many top stores provide ‘virtual fitting rooms’, so that the customers can select specific garments and see how they would look wearing those garments on large screen. This makes the whole process of selection, trials and decision making very simple and faster.
Cosmetic Mirrors: Japanese beauty retailer Shiseido is using new technology to create digital shopping experiences in their Tokyo stores. Their much-hyped ‘cosmetic mirrors’ are digital screens that a customer can use to scan product barcodes and see a virtual image of her faces with that product virtually applied to it.
This amazing new way of digital trying on makeup without having to actually apply it on their faces allows customers to sample multiple products without the hassle of remove the sampled makeup multiple times.
These “cosmetic mirrors” also provide beauty advice, product recommendations and printouts of before-and-after photos and shopping lists. White these digital mirrors are already being used at multiple stores in Japan, these are yet to be introduced in their U.S. stores.
Image Recognition Technology: The world’s leading furniture retailer, IKEA, prints more than 210 million catalogues in 60+ languages each year, driving thousands of people to their websites and physical stores. In 2013, the IKEA catalog featured ‘ Image recognition and Augmented Reality’ for the first time ever offering personalized digital content and product views to customers, and for merging the benefits of in-store and online shopping.
With IKEA’s ‘Image-Recognition Technology’, readers can scan the catalog with their mobile devices to see relevant content including a ‘360-view’ furniture displays.
More importantly, customers can “virtually” place IKEA furniture pieces in their own homes to choose the products, color and sizes that work best, without having to actually go into a store. Isn’t it quite amazing?
With more and more new technologies coming in, we are moving into a wonder-world where shopping, whether online or offline compete against each other to attract and retain more and more consumers.