Commerce has changed faster in past few years than it has for decades. We are entering an exciting era of pervasive commerce, where the lines between online and real-world shopping experiences are blurring quickly. It is not just about multi-channel or omni-channel anymore, but it’s about infinite-channel commerce. Meaning that the opportunities for brands and retailers to wow consumers are limitless.
In-store shopping in the future is going to have to be about more than just buying products. It will be about fascinating user experiences that are seamless and fun. Technologies like iBeacons, geo-fencing, wearables, are all enabling this new experience of commerce. So, what will the shopping experience of the future look like? It is already here in its early iteration.
A Hointer-powered store in Seattle doesn’t display clothes in racks or piles, but shows only one piece of clothing like at an art gallery. Consumers use their phones to tag the item, select a size and color, and the items are waiting for them to try on by the time they reach the dressing room. No more rifling through racks and racks of things to try on, resulting in an efficient shopping process.
In a previous blog post, we looked at how image recognition software is being applied to apparel shopping. People are connected with products that they like by simply uploading an image of it to an app. They can then just click-through and buy the product from the respective website.
Burberry recently launched the Burberry Beauty Box at their Covent Garden store in London. It allows users to digitally experience their products in a physical environment. Similarly, L’Oreal has a mobile app that enables users to try products on virtually.
Companies are also experimenting with Intel’s Magic Mirror, that tracks body movements and creates a virtual avatar of the shopper, allowing them to model different clothes. Not only that, but it also recommends related products and accessories at the same time.
These delightful experiences extend beyond just the apparel and beauty industries, although they are most common there. Bertolli recently launched a mobile marketing campaign, where recipes, instructional video and ingredient lists are instantly delivered to shoppers who tap their NFC-enabled phones on marked signage in a store. Needless to say, such messaging at the point of purchase means that consumers will buy the products right then and there. This is not just push messaging that annoys people, but it actually creates a fun experience while in stores.
A noteworthy aspect of all these experiences is that they are not just about convenience, but about creating memories and nurturing long-term relationships with consumers.
Here is our vision of what the technology-enabled future of commerce is going to look like.
Companies will now finally be able to deliver the right product information, to the right person, at the right place, through the right channel, every time. This is exciting and it’s happening now. What is your vision of the future of shopping?