The traditional bricks and mortar store is evolving to eCommerce -  but what’s next?

Virtual and Augmented Reality Technology (VR/AR) is nothing new in today’s world. You may associate the technology with gaming and motion picture cinematography rather than a business tool. But what is new, is the growing number of businesses outside these industries, particularly retailers, who are utilising VR/AR to attract new customers, improve customer experience and or remain competitive in an evolving market place.

The seamless path-to-purchase:

IKEA has been trialling VR technology since late 2017 to attract new customers. 

A common problem with buying furniture is the inability to visualise furniture in your home before you buy it.  You have to wait until after you’ve purchased it and got it home, to see how it really looks with your other furniture or the colour of your walls and carpet.

IKEA created new VR technology, to allow their customers to see how a piece of furniture would look in their home.  The idea behind this was to give consumers more certainty about buying the furniture and create an easier pathway to purchase. 

Elevating the customer experience:

Online shopping is growing in popularity, yet there remains a number of people, like myself, who prefer to shop at a physical store. We want to go to a store and try the clothing on to make sure it’s the right style and fit before we buy it – something we can’t do online.   

So, what if we could do all of this without having to visit a physical store? Well, that’s exactly what some retailers have enabled their customers to do through augmented reality technology.  

Consumers can upload a picture of themselves from their smartphone onto the store’s app to see how the clothing fits. Because this is all done in a virtual dressing room, they don’t even have to leave the comfort of their own home.

Standing out in a crowded world:

If you’re thinking Augmented Reality is just for clothes and furniture, think again.

An app called Living Wine label is utilising AR to help drive customer engagement and stand out from its many competitors within the hospitality sector.   The app scans a wine bottle’s label through a smartphone, to initiate a fun storytelling scene about where the wine came from, the history of the vineyard and its tasting notes.

This helps customers get a real understanding of the wine and the brand they’re about to drink. Great for consumers who like me have no idea what they’re buying in the supermarkets and may need a taste of culture – and some information to take back to the ensuing dinner party.

Get on board or get left behind:

Whilst AR/VR technology isn’t new, there are still only a handful of brands that are utilising the technology to stay competitive and to improve customer experience. With increasing competition from international companies entering the New Zealand market who are already utilising AR and artificial intelligence to sell their products and get a better understanding of their customers, New Zealand retailers must ask themselves, am I doing everything I can to stay competitive in the ever-changing and increasingly competitive world of business?

Paymark’s OPEN platform is doing just that – helping New Zealand businesses get a deeper understanding of their customers through insights or, providing new products to enhance the customer experience – both online through Online EFTPOS solution, or in-store.

If you’d like to find out more about OPEN or about how you can take your next step in payments innovation, please contact us today.