Mobile use and augmented reality (AR) are taking off in Europe. In fact, by the end of 2012 European mobile commerce will have seen 510% growth since 2010. Via a mobile device, you can visit the Palace of Veneria in Italy, chase digital fairies through your garden, and easily navigate cities. As consumers get more accustomed to mobile commerce and AR, how can retailers use the technology to impact multichannel shopping?
Mobile and AR bring your store experience into consumers’ homes
Sales via mobile devices in the UK grew 340% between June 2011 and June 2012, according to the IMRG-Capgemini Index. Online retailers in the UK, Germany, and France accounted for 71% of European online sales. However, it’s been difficult for retailers to replicate their superior and helpful in-store shopping experiences online. Fashion retailers in particular struggle to replicate in-person browsing and trying-on online and through catalogues.
AR, coupled with a spotless mobile shopping experience, is a fantastic opportunity to bring the best of your store right into shoppers’ homes, and engage online customers more actively. Picture the scene: I’m sitting at home, reading through a magazine. An ad features a really nice dress I’d like to try on. What if, using my smartphone’s camera, I could digitally check the price, view a 3D model, try the dress on an image of myself, and then seamlessly order it via the app?
Just imagine the temptation for consumers to buy more when they’re able to “try on” three blouses in seconds, from the comfort of their own sofa. Couple this experience with a mobile app that allows for immediate purchase and easy return policy, and your shopping experience goes omnichannel.
When instant is king, mobile is the premium multichannel shopping assistant
Even when consumers do visit your brick-and-mortar stores, mobile and AR will improve their experience. The UK leads mobile use by shoppers globally, with mobile being involved in 40% of sales. Tesco and Waitrose, two large European supermarkets, have already started using AR in either campaigns or online store.
Say I visit Oxford Street to do some shopping. August during London 2012 on a very hot day could discourage me from staying out long or trying many clothes. With an app like John Lewis’s, powered by Cisco, I could virtually try on up to 500 pieces. The same is available for Topshop in Moscow. On my way back, I could grab a cappuccino at Pret a Manger, and use the Quick Tap to easily pay with my mobile.
Via AR, let in-store shoppers instantly see star ratings and feedback from other shoppers who’ve already purchased the items around them. Make it easy to find additional sizes or styles online, and order them for home delivery or store pickup. Omnichannel shopping this way lets retailers combat the negative effects of showrooming – visiting one retailer then buying online from another – by delivering a helpful experience that keeps them in your shopping channel.
Develop mobile and AR experiences now, or your competitors will
Mobile shopping will definitely become a must-have for retailers in Europe, as well as around the world. Develop helpful mobile and AR experiences now to differentiate your business from competitors and delight customers.