The high street is shrinking. Poundworld, Brookstone, Toys R Us and Maplin have already fallen victim, while House of Fraser and Mothercare are having to take drastic action to avoid a similar fate. Their downfall can, without doubt, be attributed to the unstoppable rise of internet shopping.
To combat the exodus, some retailers have turned their attention to technology and innovation to replicate the effortless experience shoppers enjoy online. AR, in particular, is increasingly used to create an immersive shopping environment.
In fashion and beauty, magic mirrors and smart walls allow shoppers to browse digital clothing collections, try on a product and at the merest swipe, change its colour, design or style. It’s effortless, convenient and above all, exciting.
Kylie Cosmetics is the latest brand to use AR to let people virtually try on lipstick, with the introduction of a custom face filter on Instagram. In the food and beverages sector, tequila brand Patrón launched an augmented reality app to show its customers how the product is made while providing guidance on tequila tastings at home.
Creating experiences like these that link online and offline experiences could save the high street. Its strength, particularly in retail, is that augmented reality enables us to shop anywhere, while benefitting from personalised experiences. So as smartphones pick up on AR functionality, will there be a need to visit the high street at all?
Imagine having a magic mirror at home. It could connect personal data to services such as calendar, weather and ecommerce. Suddenly, we’d be able to shop for an upcoming event like a holiday; seeing product suggestions selected to match our individual tastes, without ever leaving the house.
So, is this a vision of the future or should high street retailers start worrying?
As more and more brands embrace AR, the technology will become increasingly accessible and adaptable throughout a variety of sectors. Retailers are presented with an opportunity and should focus on crafting multi-sensory experiences for their customers, giving them the personalisation and convenience they progressively seek. The brands and retailers who manage to successfully embrace and adopt new tech and innovations into their existing environments will lead the way in the race back to the high street.
Full article published in Internet Retailing