Stores Of The Future

published by A1 Retail,
September 30, 2021
written by Stefan Hauswiesner, CEO of Reactive Reality

“For physical stores, keeping customers engaged has been top of the agenda since the dawn of high street retail. Stores are uniquely capable of turning shopping into an experience but lack the convenience of buying online. Online stores, on the other hand, have converged to a generic and exchangeable layout. Shopping online has become frictionless but transactional - it lacks the refined experience which brands have achieved in stores. With the technical capabilities of smartphones and computers rising quickly, shoppers have started to demand a best-of-the-two-worlds shopping experience, convenient and exciting at the same time, rather than simply picking and buying clothes. Such experiences lie at the heart of a memorable shopping experience, resulting in shoppers becoming valued, repeat customers. Augmented reality (AR) technology allows customers to view, customise, and try on clothes via their own personalised avatar without the effort of physically putting on numerable outfits. The technology allows shoppers to get accurate size recommendations, see what items will look like on them, even if the items, sizes, or colours are not physically available in the store. Zero-inventory stores will be common, combining exciting brand experiences with convenience and cost-efficiency. After visiting a store, the customer could then be provided with an online sign in credential where their own avatar and in-store experience could be stored, allowing them to easily continue their shopping journey at home or at a later date. Though online shopping has disrupted bricks and mortar retail over the past two decades, it is AR/VR technology that will continue to improve and enable retailers to navigate the increasing overlap between online and physical environments.”