A Look Ahead at 2014 - Augmented RealityGeneral
A Look Ahead at 2014 - Augmented Reality
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.
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