The retail experience has changed; No more are customers aimlessly strolling around stores hoping to find what they’re after. We’re now a more switched on, goal-focused society who know what we want, when we want it and where to get it, and we have the technology to make this happen. Whilst more of us now have access to mobile devices and retailers continue to incorporate smart technology in stores, we as consumers do more than just simply ‘shop’.
We can now search for items quicker, access more in-depth product information, and order and pay pretty much instantly. Retailers are aware that consumers are becoming accustomed to using their mobile devices whilst in-store, and as a result are adopting similar technology to create an environment where consumers feel comfortable to browse, experiment and purchase. According to comScore, 43.3% of UK smartphone users have used their device whilst in a store; an important statistic for retailers everywhere.
Tablet devices including iPads are drastically enhancing retail experiences, and have been doing so for quite some time. Back in 2013 Argos announced that it would be swapping catalogues for iPads to “reposition stores to support a digital future in which digital channels are the primary interface for customers”. This was from a brand famously known for its in-store brochure-skimming method of getting consumers closer to their products. Today, Argos customers can search for items quicker through brochure-esque apps whilst viewing detailed images, checking availability and ordering straight from the device itself. Since introducing digital catalogues into the stores the retailers profits increased by 14% which was boosted by cost savings and a rise in sales.
Retailers who utilize interactive tools are far more likely to drive in-store sales as they offer a more personalized customer experienced, for instance a showroom app. Having iPads in various locations around the store allows customers to consume information quicker which in turn speeds up the purchase making decision. Fashion giant Burberry reported an initial 18% YoY revenue increase following the roll out of their digital strategy in their 25 flagship stores, and car manufacturer Audi’s ‘Audi City’ website became one of the brand’s top five selling UK sites following their virtual showroom campaign.
Giving customers the ability to customize products to their liking whilst in-store provides a rich, personalized experience, and builds brand loyalty in a world where demand and cost takes centre stage. Augmented reality apps in showrooms allow customers to visualize how products will look once they have been customized, and depending on what they’re customizing, how these products will integrate with environments outside of the store. Ferrari launched an augmented reality app in Australia and Japan which enables buyers to customize their motor in-store including changing colours, customizing interior and altering rim specifications.
A benefit of creating a showroom-esque type app is that it will also bring you closer to customers even if they aren’t in your store. Swedish home furnishings retailer Ikea have their own augmented reality app which customers can download to their smart devices and gauge how and where Ikea products fit in their homes, for instance a sofa in the front room, without having to visit the showroom. We have conceptualised, developed and delivered a similar mobile app whilst working for Nabru where users can customize their own sofas in 3D. The sofa builder puts the user in control allowing them to experiment with everything from fabrics, storage, size and finishes. Download the app to design your perfect sofa by visiting our portfolio page.
Augmented reality apps have also been used to visualize some of our most essential household amenities. Karndean Designflooring’s app lets you visualize how their flooring would look like in your home. You can take snapshots along the way, edit out walls if required and then save to compare flooring afterwards. This can also be applied to other rooms in the household, including the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen. The ease of designing your new flooring builds brand loyalty and makes Karndean the natural choice of retailer when reaching the sale stage.
Native mobile apps and other emerging technology is revolutionizing how retailers and customers connect. They can be used for various purposes; for experiential, appealing to mobile users, increased convenience and providing an overall enhanced shopping experience. Long gone are the days when consumers shop just by using their instinct, the majority now rely on visual technical aids to push them over the purchasing line. As mobiles and tablets become an essential tool for life, which are rarely out of our hands, brands need to utilize the latest in app technology both inside and outside of the showroom to stay ahead of the consumer.
Let us know your plans today and see for yourself how we can provide your retail business with the digital tools to excel and stand out from your competitors.
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