No Touch Retail

Creating rich experiences for consumers using touch-free technology

23.07.2020

 

The strength of physical retail compared to online shopping has always been the multi-sensory experience. Consumers could see, touch, and trial the products right in front of them. But when touching is a no-go how can retailers replicate that experiential environment that keeps customers coming back to the high street?

Could it be that retail’s biggest challenge is actually it’s biggest opportunity? See the rise of ‘No touch retail.’

New technology can facilitate creative solutions to build connections without contact. Below we explore the tech available and how major brands have started to roll out campaigns using AR, Voice and Gesture control and the interactive mirror technology that found Lululemon in the news last month.

AR SHOPPING 

Augmented reality is a world of infinite possibilities, allowing customers to interact with content or experiences from the safety of their own devices.

In Gucci’s AR campaign for their ‘Ace’ trainer range, customers selected their desired shoe via the brand’s app, then pointed their mobile device’s camera at their feet to ‘try on’ the selected pair – both virtually and securely.

ASOS took the AR experience further through their ‘Virtual Catwalk’.  Utilising a feature on the ASOS app, consumers point their device at a flat surface and could visualise their selected items on a 3D model that would appear, also allowing choice for different size models, giving them an idea of how an item might fit their body shape.

AR EXPERIENCES

AR merges traditional and digital advertising tactics to create an immersive experience for the consumer. If utilised correctly, the retail space itself can be transformed and changed in unimaginable and exciting ways. AR triggers can be embedded in the store to ensure it’s an exclusive interaction for your customers.

A prime example of such was the recent Nike/LeBron James activation in Foot Locker’s ‘House of Hoops’ in Hollywood in partnership with Snapchat.

Foot Locker had a large Nike mural installed in-store with the Snapchat logo included. The AR activation brought to life the 2D image of the iconic athlete, eventually morphing into a 3D model of James replicating one of his powerful, legendary slam dunks within the store itself!

GESTURE CONTROL

With restrictions likely to continue for a prolonged period, the challenge for in-store experiences is to provide activations that involve the consumer in a physical as well as digital sense. Motion capture technology can provide a solution to this issue.

McDonald’s has also utilised this tech when promoting their ‘Maestro’ burger in Portugal, where passers by could ‘conduct’ an orchestral tune with the burger utilising just their hands.

Further, Jaguar produced a tennis app that enabled users to simulate hitting a ball using just their smartphone for the chance to win tickets to Wimbledon through a combination of utilising the consumer’s personal device, gesture-recognition and motion-capture technology.

The Economist recently utilised a person’s motion capture to control a robot arm to hand out coffees to passing consumers.

VOICE CONTROL 

With the rise of voice controlled tech in the home consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with it’s use. This is the perfect time to introduce this tech into store.

Coke’s ‘Say Yes To Coke No Sugar’ utilised this technology in an experiential way through the usage of signage. Passer-by’s were encouraged to say ‘Yes’ to Coke No Sugar at the signage point, and were rewarded with a chilled bottle if they did so.

Further, Mercedes-Benz combined voice control, motion capture and AR. Attendees to the US Open were asked to say “Hey Mercedes, teach me to play like Sloane.” At that point, US tennis star Sloane Stephens appeared and delivered a quick AR tennis lesson.

MIRROR MIRROR 

Interactive panels and mirrors can further bring AR into retail environments by providing customers with real-time evaluations of how a particular product will look. They can also use these mirrors to communicate with store staff to request different sizes, colours or ask for alternative style suggestions.

In Zara’s flagship Westfield Stratford store, interactive mirrors equipped with RFID can detect the item a customer is holding and make outfit suggestions, enabling customers to see what a complete outfit will look like in the mirror.

Lululemon, the fitness apparel brand, recently purchased the hardware business ‘Mirror’, which allows users to exercise while simultaneously streaming workouts and watching themselves, seeking to build the brand’s community through placing AR at the heart of this.

 

With the increased awareness around virus transmission consumers will continue to favour experiences that are touch free or can be enjoyed from a distance.

Technology gives us the tools to create engaging experiences for customers without breaking the touch barrier.

There are so many exciting opportunities to be creative and the possibilities are only limited by imagination.

If you’d like to learn more about how touch free technology can enhance your store or customer event then please get in touch hello@undercurrent.uk.net