As promised in my first blog post, here is part 2. In part 1?, I introduced the trend of merged reality of retailing and explained how this will be played out using our sense of speech. For this blog post, I will explore other areas of sensory involvement that are changing retailing and give some insights on how retailers should embrace this trend.
1.Speech – Interacting with the world like never before
Refer part 1 of this blog post
2.Touch – Feeling the world in a new way
Tech Enablers (Examples) –Adidas uses surface computing in a fascinating way. The adiVerse virtual footwear wall customizes the experience based on gender, and helps guide customers to the perfect shoe, browse the product catalog rendered in real-time 3D and add products to a virtual cart. Several others have employed this sensory faculty using other technologies such as Tablets (customers can design their shoes at Puma), Haptics (Senseg's emerging tech that lets users feel textures on a screen), Kiosks (Meal Planning solution at Kraft) andSmartphones (Tailored store guide and interactive tour at Miele).
3.Sight - Seeing the world through a new set of eyes
Tech Enablers (Examples) – The magic mirror is an ideal candidate here, and it combines augmented reality and gesture computing in a novel way. The ones at John Lewis, Disney and several others allow customers to try on clothes without ever putting them on. These can also project several recommended items over the customer to show how a complete outfit might look with shoes, accessories etc.Some of the other technologies that transform the sensory faculty of vision include Augmented Reality (App placing virtual products in a room,from IKEA), QR Codes (Tesco's Korean QR code stores that make grocery shopping convenient in a subway), Location aware (locating the exact aisle and shelf location of products at Tesco), Gesture computing (online fitting rooms using Kinect at Topshop)and Image recognition (App that responds with an exact item or a matching one for the picture snapped, from Amazon)
4.Taste & Smell
I am sure someone is already working on this, and I wouldn't be surprised if future technology mimics the sense of taste &smell. Now imagine; if you could catch the scent of the flowers you want to order on 1800flowers or sample a taste of a dessert from a gourmet store. Now that would be cool.
In conclusion, it is easy to observe how this trend is embracing not just retail but other industries as well; for when one involves the customer's senses, one creates an instantaneous bond – a powerful tool for engagement. Retailers should embrace this trend by delivering sensory experiences that employ technology to extend the product beyond its traditional borders (physical environments in most cases) creating customer delight.
How do you see tech enablers changing the realities of retail as we know it? What are those sensory experiences that you look forward to?