This past decade has seen a big shift in consumer behavior in retail. Classic brick-and-mortar retailers have been forced to improvise in order to survive the profound societal changes that are affecting their businesses. Only just now Fox business published an article demonstrating that, the phenomenon media have affectionately dubbed: “The retail(a)pocalypse”, is far from over.
Anno 2019 retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap and Macy’s are being forced to close stores, lay off employees and even file for bankruptcy. These are just some of the big names that have been struggling to keep up with the changing times. As you can see in the graph below, the list is quite extensive:
This is the reality retailers are facing today. Business Insider names the advent of E-commerce as one of the main drivers: currently 16% of all sales transactions in retail are conducted over the internet. According to analysts this number is set to rise to a whopping 25% by 2026. Rising real estate prices, competition from global Powerhouses like Alibaba or Amazon and more demanding consumers are just some of the compounding factors of this new reality.
Our conclusion: the time has come for retailers to adhere to an age-old adage: Innovate. Adapt. Overcome.
Xplore group has the expertise to help retailers make the transition to digital. While we are most known for our E-commerce competence, we offer a broad range of products and services to our clients. In this article we’d like to make the case for immersive technology.
To us, immersive technology is any technology that bridges the gap between the real and virtual world. Some of the more known ones are: virtual reality, augmented reality or holograms. Forward thinking businesses have already begun integrating these tools into their marketing strategy. They allow retailers to make the jump to digital while offering consumers powerful experiences that leave a lasting impression.
Because of the novelty of these technologies new and exciting use cases are being created every day. There’s a lot of room for innovation still and we’re sure amazing things are on the horizon. Here are some creative ways early adopters leveraged the potential of immersive technology for their business.
Major brands like IKEA and Target are using augmented reality to overlay virtual versions of their products onto the real world. This lets customers preview what they are buying. In the case of IKEA they can see which furniture fits their living room best. Target does something similar: by letting potential customers visualize what they will buy, they establish a more profound connection with the product. Research has shown this positively affects the conversion rate.
Amazon has created a VR experience that shows a glimpse of the future of shopping. Rather than taking customers to a computer-generated-facsimile of a brick-and-mortar space, Amazon instead transports the shopper to a city filled with products – Beginning with the fun of a hot balloon ride. This approach turns going shopping into a veritable experience.