Tag Archives for " Virtual Reality "

man holding the smart phone, using the Augmented Reality buy some food in the supermarket

Augmented Reality v/s Image Recognition – The better bet for your business

Augmented Reality vs. Image Recognition - The better bet for your retail business

There's a lot of chatter around how Augmented Reality will change the way people shop. While Augmented Reality holds value, every technology created has its specific use case. Retailers and brands must bear in mind the several aspects each of the technology provides and select those that align to their objectives and goals. Let's delve deeper into each of these technologies -

Image recognition

Image recognition technology enables consumers to search for products by just taking a picture of them. These visual experiences are usually more flexible in nature when compared to Augmented Reality experiences for the following reasons -

No requirement for users to download an extension or app 

While there are some versions of AR applications out there for mobile websites, it's still a long way from delivering a seamless experience for its users. AR experiences that perform well often require a user to download an app. Image recognition, here plays a pivotal role as it enables interactive experiences within a retailer's mobile web, and not just the native app.

There is no need for creating 3D models 

Developing 3D models for AR experiences can often be time-consuming and expensive. Due to its complicated nature, it even requires technical skills to deliver the experience. Image recognition can be used with the existing marketing and web collaterals and can be implemented with ease. Moreover, the changes made to the content will automatically be updated in the apps, keeping the experience up-to-date.

Providing a universal and inclusive experience for shoppers 

Devices play an important role when Augmented reality is concerned. The experience may differ between low-end and high-end user devices, with the highest quality devices getting the best results. This is not an issue with Image recognition as it allows brands and retailers to ensure that their content is delivered to their customers in the same, interactive manner, irrespective of the user's device.


Limitations of Image recognition vs AR

While Image recognition provides the aforementioned benefits, there are certain aspects that set Augmented Reality apart from Image recognition:

Content is visualized in a three-dimensional manner

The type of content linked to Image recognition often includes videos, promotions, product information pages, etc. which often aids the customer's purchase journey by allowing them to learn more about the products and it offers at one go. In AR, the content is represented in a three-dimensional format. The content visualized is not three-dimensional, unlike what many Augmented Reality experiences build upon.

Image recognition provides a transactional experience, not immersive

If a user/customer aims to visualize objects in their environment, Augmented reality can be a good option to choose from, as Image recognition limits the user or customer to place digital content into the real world. This comes especially handy while buying expensive furniture - with a 'try before you buy' functionality. The customer can use the functionality and get a feel of how it may appear against a realistic setup - and nudge him or her towards a purchase.


Conclusion

To put it briefly, image recognition helps create a smooth transition between the physical and the digital worlds and help customers through a shopping journey. It allows them to interact with real products with the help of the images and the product information. For instance, it allows the user to learn more about a product's nutritional values, the user ratings, allergens, check for its alternatives, similar products, complementary products, etc.

On the other hand, Augmented Reality goes from digital to physical. It lets customers interact with virtual products in their own environment when, in fact, are not present.

While they may support different use cases, both technologies can provide customers with different kinds of engaging experiences.

Related e-commerce articles:

Enhancing the customer experience beyond shopping
Enhancing the customer experience beyond shopping With consumers changing how they purchase and engage with a brand, retailers have leveraged[...]
Importance of AI in customer loyalty
The expectations of consumers today from their favourite brands has increased ten-fold, and with big companies such as Amazon providing[...]
What is GS1 Verified? – Everything you need to know
​Live from the GS1 Connect 2019 EventWith the GS1 Connect 2019 event happening this week in Denver, Colorado, we think[...]
DataPorts and Why they Matter
​Retailers today struggle with managing all of the product content necessary to publish and maintain their online product catalog. Assembling[...]
3 ways Grocery retailers can survive in the age of Amazon
3 ways retailers can survive in the age of AmazonRetail giants like Amazon’s ability to effectively address the ever-changing customer[...]
The Impact of AI on Grocery Retail
The Impact of AI on Grocery RetailIn today’s age, grocery retailers no longer have to make guesses about what customers[...]
woman wearing VR headset

Virtual Reality: Playing a growing role in retail

Virtual Reality: Playing a growing role in Retail

New technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are gaining popularity. The technology to enable VR and AR is now inexpensive enough and powerful enough for anyone to experience. Have you considered how it can improve the selling experience for your customers?

Virtual Reality is an Immersive Experience

VR is now mainstream in a variety of applications across different fields such as education, gaming, military and movies. When users experience VR in these mainstream applications, they are no longer intimidated by how it works.

Retailers can benefit from this trend as they start to look for opportunities to leverage VR to help sell products or educate customers.  VR can be used to entertain customers with a virtual experience of your offerings. VR can supplement the bright colorful images, detailed product descriptions and reviews that customers are currently using to make a buying decision online.

Virtual Reality is still in its initial phases with companies like HTC, Oculus, and Samsung. VR is still growing in popularity with thousands of headsets being sold. The price for headsets has come down dramatically with the release of products like the Oculus GO retailing for under $200. This is opening up the market for retailers like Alibaba (see video below), Lowe’s and North Face to start using VR to promote their brands.

Including VR in retail could possibly offer efficient data and analytics, which in turn could benefit retailers in coming up with effective strategies. It could also help in reducing both marketing costs as well as product returns. Major challenges include that VR headsets are uncomfortable and require hardware, as well as the fact that they are expensive. Fortunately, many companies such as Apple, Google, HTC and Samsung are developing affordable standalone headsets or applications that operate on mobile phones.

Augmented Reality changes the Rules

Augmented Reality (AR) can be used to add information or graphics to a live image seen through a mobile phone camera. In the market for home furnishings, AR can be used to position a new couch, chair or lamp in a scene on a live view through your mobile phone camera.

How you might implement and use AR depends on what you're selling. If you have an item that can be seen through a mobile camera and enhanced with virtual elements then it might be a good candidate for AR.

Ikea AR app

IKEA app demonstrates live AR placement of virtual furniture

How to Incorporate VR in Retail:

While there are many applications of using VR, here are two ways in which it can be effectively applied in the retail industry:

Interactive VR Experience

Retailers like Swarovski include virtual tours and apps that let customers interact with their products. Virtual tours can provide customers with an immersive experience by allowing them to visualize products virtually before trying them out in the store. To deliver an interactive VR experience, retailers need a team of 3D artists, copywriters, graphic designers, software engineers, sound engineers, and quality assurance experts. The overall cost of such a set up could easily cost $100,000.

360° Videos

Video storytelling can be an engaging way to educate customers. A 360° video experience can enable customers to get a feel of a product in space from different angles. The production of a 360° video requires live action shooting, basic video production, special effects, and post-production. Retailers would also need to provide VR headsets with relevant apps to deliver the content. The cost of making such videos could range anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000 depending on how immersive an experience the retailers choose to offer.

Potential Advantages for Business:

Virtual Reality in retail has advantages as it removes the limitations on space and time and reduces the overall marketing costs. Here are a few of the potential business advantages it offers for retailers:

Specific Store Design and Layout

It is much faster and more cost effective to put together a virtual store design. In this example, customers can tour the virtual store and test store layout and design principles before the physical store is built. Virtual Reality technology is evolving and improving, meaning there are options to visualize store, test out different layouts and test customer acceptance. In addition, with a VR project, shelf and assortment layout can be tested and validated.

Customer Feedback

VR analysis can allow retailers to understand the customer journey better. Retailers identify the best performing tactics and analyze customer shopping patterns. By following customer interactions in a virtual world, a retailer can gather data on the way that a customers shops. This data can be used accordingly to adjust store layout and optimize product placement.

Dominate the Marketplace

VR is still in the early stages of market acceptance with scarce content. Innovative retailers can take advantage of this fact and learn along the way as the underlying technology keeps improving. If your target market includes shoppers who might be enticed by VR or willing to try VR, then you should consider it. V-commerce can be one element of your marketing plan to help differentiate you from a competitor, and draw in consumers who appreciate the experience. 

Related E-commerce Articles:

Enhancing the customer experience beyond shopping
Enhancing the customer experience beyond shopping With consumers changing how they purchase and engage with a brand, retailers have leveraged[...]
Importance of AI in customer loyalty
The expectations of consumers today from their favourite brands has increased ten-fold, and with big companies such as Amazon providing[...]
What is GS1 Verified? – Everything you need to know
​Live from the GS1 Connect 2019 EventWith the GS1 Connect 2019 event happening this week in Denver, Colorado, we think[...]
DataPorts and Why they Matter
​Retailers today struggle with managing all of the product content necessary to publish and maintain their online product catalog. Assembling[...]
3 ways Grocery retailers can survive in the age of Amazon
3 ways retailers can survive in the age of AmazonRetail giants like Amazon’s ability to effectively address the ever-changing customer[...]
The Impact of AI on Grocery Retail
The Impact of AI on Grocery RetailIn today’s age, grocery retailers no longer have to make guesses about what customers[...]