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Consumers embracing AR, VR

Chain Store Age – Customers increasingly want to shop with retailers that offer augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

This was according to the “2018 Digital Commerce Study” from BRP, retail consulting firm. The study reported that 48% of customers would be more likely to shop at a retailer that utilizes augmented or virtual reality. Many retailers have already introduced AR apps and testing and deployment of VR apps is increasing. And 32% of retailers plan to use AR and VR within three years, respectively.

AR and VR offer new and enhanced ways for customers to experience merchandise, like visualizing how a product would look in their home or even on their body. Both technologies offer interesting applications and opportunities, as the ability to mix virtual and real elements can be game changing – especially for furniture, home décor and apparel retailers.

“Immersive technology like VR and AR is redefining the way consumers can experience and buy products, leveraging the advantages of physical space, like the store or the customer’s home, without being constrained by the space,” said Brian Brunk, principal, BRP. “Traditional retail lines continue to blur as retail realities are rapidly evolving and the stage where the theater of retail takes place can be dictated by the customer.”

Read full article: Consumers embracing AR, VR

Nearly 50% of Consumers are More Likely to Shop at Retailers that Offer Virtual or Augmented Reality, According to BRP Report

32% of Retailers Plan to Use Virtual and Augmented Reality in Three Years, According to the 2018 Digital Commerce Survey

Boston, MA – November 1, 2018– Through virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR), innovative retailers offer new and enhanced ways for customers to experience products, like visualizing how a product would look in their home or even on their body. VR and AR offer interesting applications and opportunities, as the ability to mix virtual and real elements can be game changing – especially for furniture, home décor and apparel retailers. According to BRP’s 2018 Digital Commerce Survey, retailers understand the impact that VR and AR can have on the customer experience and 32% of retailers plan to use virtual and augmented reality within three years.

Consumers also see the benefit of VR and AR, as nearly half of consumers are more likely to shop at a retailer utilizing virtual or augmented reality, according to a recent study by Incisiv, sponsored by BRP and Windstream Enterprise.[1]As consumers shop for a new couch or bedroom set, it is very helpful to see what the furniture will look like in their house or browse a virtual array of options like colors and fabrics, rather than just viewing in a catalog or on a website – and VR and AR apps can make it happen. Many retailers have already introduced AR apps and testing and deployment of VR apps is increasing.

Macy’s is a recent example, as they’re currently rolling out a new virtual reality experience across 70 locations, combined with an AR app for home use, to offer an immersive furniture shopping experience that allows browsing and visualization of a much larger assortment of furniture than a typical store. Sephora’s “Virtual Artist” app uses AR to scan your face, figure out where your lips and eyes are, and lets you try different looks on your smartphone. Foot Locker’s “The Hunt” AR scavenger hunt inspired smartphone-toting sneakerheads to venture across Los Angeles to unlock geo-targeted AR clues throughout the city earning the chance to be among the first to acquire new limited-edition LeBron 16 King “Court Purple” sneakers. As more and more retailers adopt VR or AR technology over the next few years, this will increase customers’ expectations for the same from other retailers that they shop.

“Immersive technology like VR and AR is redefining the way consumers can experience and buy products, leveraging the advantages of physical space, like the store or the customer’s home, without being constrained by the space,” said Brian Brunk, Principal, BRP. “Traditional retail lines continue to blur as retail realities are rapidly evolving and the stage where the theater of retail takes place can be dictated by the customer.”

To download 2018 Digital Commerce Survey, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-digital-commerce-survey/

The 2018 Digital Commerce Survey gold sponsors are ECRSand enVista.

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.

[1]Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations, July 24, 2018. https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-retail-research-report/

Consumers say Digital Influences up to 75% of Pre-store Visits and is Leveraged in 46% of In-store Shopping Experiences, According to Recent BRP Study

Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations Report Identifies Gaps Between Retail Execution and Customer Expectations

Boston, MA – July 24, 2018– According to a new report from BRP and Windstream Enterprise, rapidly evolving customer expectations and digital technologies are driving a major transformation in the retail industry. The Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations report, based on research conducted by Incisiv, combines findings from surveys of 1,212 retail consumers and 60 retail executives to understand the effect digital has on the shopping experience.

“The digital divide in retail is growing, as over 75% of retail shopping traverses the digital realm, but less than half of retailers deliver on the most important digital capabilities that customers desire,” said Brian Brunk, Principal, BRP. “Further, very few retailers offer the next generation digital technologies, like automated returns and proximity-triggered mobile coupons, that could significantly influence future purchase decisions. Retailers must transform and quickly close the digital gap to remain relevant with their customer.

“Mobile devices and the capabilities they enable are the primary catalyst for the continued evolution of the customer experience,” said Ryan Grogman, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP. “The majority of today’s consumers research products and brands digitally prior to visiting a physical store and, once they are in the store, about half of them use their mobile devices to perform price comparisons, read product reviews, and even validate inventory.”

Consumers are no longer confined to a linear buying journey and expect greater convenience and empowerment to shop the way they want and where they want. Digital sits at the core of that promise and it’s no surprise that most consumers research prices, reviews and product information before they set foot into a store and when they are in the store they perform these actions on their mobile devices.

Consumers are more likely to shop at retailers that align next-gen technologies to their digital preferences; however, in many cases, retailers don’t offer the capabilities that impact consumers’ shopping preferences.

Proximity-triggered Mobile Coupons – Consumers value digital discounts and promotions on their mobile devices. 

  • 65% of customers would more likely shop at a retail brand that offered this capability
  • 8% of retailers offer this capability

Augmented Reality Experience – Many consumers appreciate the opportunity to see products in a virtual environment.

  • 48% of customers would more likely shop at a retail brand that offered this capability
  • 15% of retailers offer this capability

Automated Returns Process – Consumers expect the returns process to be easy and frictionless.

  • 68% of customers would more likely shop at a retail brand that offered this capability
  • 8% of retailers offer this capability

To download the complete Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations report, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-retail-research-report/

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail management consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.

New Study Finds 45 Percent of Retailers Plan to Integrate AI

JCK – Artificial intelligence is poised to become a more commonplace technology in retailing, according to a study released by Boston Retail Partners (BRP) this week. In BRP’s 2017 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey, 45 percent of retailers polled said they plan to use artificial intelligence within three years to enhance their customer service.

Virtual reality doesn’t lag far behind—34 percent of respondents said they plan to use the immersive tech in the next three years.

Read Full Article: New Study Finds 45 Percent of Retailers Plan to Integrate AI

45% Of Retailers Will Utilize AI Within 3 Years

Retail Touch Points – The popularity and know-it-all nature of artificial intelligence platforms such as Siri and Alexa have given rise to more sophisticated digital communications, and more retailers are noticing the potential of these capabilities. Within three years, up to 45% of retailers plan to utilize artificial intelligence (AI) — through chatbots or digital assistants — to enhance their customer experiences, according to a survey from Boston Retail Partners (BRP).

While a majority, 55%, of retailers say their top priority is optimizing the customer experience, they also are prioritizing other shopper-related goals.

Read Full Article: 45% Of Retailers Will Utilize AI Within 3 Years

Retailers getting serious about artificial intelligence

Chain Store Age – A new survey suggests that retailers are ready to invest in artificial intelligence and other new technologies.

Forty-five percent (45%) of retailers plan to utilize artificial intelligence within three years to enhance the customer experience, according to the BRP (Boston Retail Partners) 2017 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey.  Virtual reality is also in retailers’ sights, with 34% of respondents saying they plan to deploy it within the next three years. Another 34% of retailers plan to implement augmented reality within the same time frame.
Additionally, 55% of retailers are focused on optimizing the customer experience to increase customer loyalty by improving the mobile shopping experience and creating a unified experience across channels.
“Stores must now encompass both worlds – the sensory experience generally available in the physical world, such as touching and feeling merchandise and personally interacting with a knowledgeable associate – whether simply human or a combination of AI and human characteristics – married with the unique and personalized shopping experience common in the digital world,” according to the report. “The physical and digital worlds are forever intertwined as we look to the future.”

Read Full Article: Retailers getting serious about artificial intelligence

What does the Success of Pokémon Go mean for the Future of Retail?

Pokemon Painting by Joe Lawlor

Pokemon Painting by Joe Lawlor

Has augmented reality (AR) hit the tipping point of user engagement through the success of Pokémon Go leading fans through a virtual journey of capturing digital monsters that navigates through streets and parks of our cities? In a few short weeks, the app has virally spread getting young and old to play along. Hordes of people are descending on parks to capture that rare Pokémon. People are interacting and sharing tips and tricks while walking in search of their next conquest. It is truly amazing how this app has permeated our culture so quickly. While this may baffle some, taking a closer look at the game and the technology offers us a peak into the future of retailing.

Customer engagement through gamification has been a tried and true strategy for retailers to entice customers to engage with the brand. In the past, it was as simple as bumper stickers on a car, scratch off tickets, or being the 100th customer. Now, with AR, retailers can enhance the game, offer a richer customer experience, and learn something about the customer in a fun and engaging way. Instead of flicking virtual Poké balls at digital cartoon characters, AR can be used to help customers learn about products and promotions. In fact, several brands are already leveraging AR. For example, Lego uses AR to show customers what a completed kit would look like, Converse helps customers try on new shoes and Ikea helps customers envision the placement of furniture in their house. While interesting, this is just scratching the surface of the power of AR.

Provided the right format of interaction, augmented reality can provide retailers with a wealth of information about customers’ preferences and behaviors. Retailers will have the ability to see what items are considered in the purchase cycle, see how the customer shops, and gain additional insight on what drives the final purchase. Conversely, AR can help customers by offering product features and benefits, promotions, and even shop the Internet for the best price. In the end, it helps both customers and retailers.

AR has been around for several years, and until now it has been sparsely used by retailers to engage customers. With the success of Pokémon Go, expect retailers to invest in ways to leverage this technology to engage the customer. Instead of Pokémons hatching as you walk your favorite store, you might see a 70% off coupon hatch down the aisle you rarely visit or a discount bubble appear when you scan a technical backpack to learn about its features and benefits. Regardless of what comes next, it is an exciting time for customers and retailers to continue to engage and interact. There is a lot of work to be done from a content and interaction perspective, but the power of AR is now proven as it has a massive appeal among consumers.

Augmented reality is a form of gamification and retailers are realizing the value of gamification to engage their customers. In fact, according to BRP’s 2015 CRM Survey, 87% of retailers plan to use gamification to engage the customer within five years.

With that said, you’ll have to excuse me, I’m off to catch Pikachu at the local mall.

I appreciate you insights on this topic.  Please share your comments below.

Robert