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GET RETAIL SMART
Transforming Retail
with Augmented
Reality
GET RETAIL SMART
Transforming Retail with Augmented Reality
	
Technology has revolutionised and disrupted the retail industry in recent years. The next
generation of technology offers category players the opportunity to drive the upcoming
transformation on their terms. Augmented reality (AR) allows retailers to provide
consumers with opportunities to preview, plan, and engage with products like never before,
improving the customer purchasing experience and boosting sales and loyalty.
“Over time, I think [having augmented reality features] will be
as key as having a website” –Tim Cook, Apple CEO1
Retailers are predicted to make an AR leap in the near future. 41% of consumers in the UK
and US already expect to be offered access to augmented reality in retail2
, and more than
half (51%) think retailers are failing to take full advantage of the technology now available
to them1
. 900 million smartphones are forecast to be AR-enabled globally by the end of
2018 3
, and as AR becomes a more standard and accessible technology, consumer
expectations for its application will only increase. AR therefore will become a must, as it
presents opportunities to add huge value for retailers and consumers alike.
TRANSFORMING ONLINE RETAIL
Online, AR provides retailers with vast opportunities to increase efficiency and drive sales.
Returns cost UK retailers an estimated £60bn a year, £20bn of which is generated by items
bought online4
. AR could help retailers reduce the rate of product returns (and thereby the
associated cost) by allowing consumers to preview a product seemingly in the physical
world before purchase.
AR could also help reduce the number of abandoned online shopping baskets, which are
currently worth an estimated £18bn to UK retailers each year5
, by making the experience of
previewing items much more compelling. A third of consumers say they would be more
likely to buy something after using mixed/augmented reality to preview products1
.
AR offers an incredible opportunity to better connect customers to products in a way that
has previously been difficult in online retail. Several retailers have developed apps to enable
this. L’Oréal’s Makeup Genius allows users to virtually try on beauty products on their mobile
																																																								1
Forbes 2018
2
DigitalBridge, Augmented Reality—Changing the Face of Retail, 2017
3
	Digi-Capital, Augmented/Virtual Reality Report Q4 2018	4
UKTN, 2017	5
Barclaycard, 2018
GET RETAIL SMART
Transforming Retail with Augmented Reality
	
device’s screen. The app was originally lipstick-only, but after seeing an increase in sales
L’Oréal developed it further to include all types of makeup. The brand has since seen its
app be downloaded more than 20 million times6
.
Footlocker and BBDO NY released a Snapchat AR lens to
build engagement for the Gatorade AJ1 sneakers, prior to
their launch in December 2017. The campaign tapped into
the sneaker ‘unboxing’ trend, in which certain influencers
are given early access to products to build excitement,
and inverted it. Rather than allowing a select few people
to try out the product before launch, anyone could do so
via the AR lens. In the two days the campaign ran, it
gained over 4 million impressions7
.
BRIDGING THE GAP WITH IN-STORE
Opportunities around AR are not restricted to online retail. For instance, the technology
could transform packaging, providing shoppers with additional information about a product
and allowing potential questions to be answered in-store at the point of purchase. In July
2017, Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn launched an augmented reality scanning
application, the AH Product Scanner. The app allows customers to scan a sticker on a
product to reveal more information about its origin, ingredients, nutritional value and
suggested recipes. But applications are not purely functional - interactive packaging could
help bring brands to life, adding games, contests and content to packaging, making it a
viable touchpoint for customer engagement.
“AR is set to reconnect physical and digital retail.” – Greg
Jones, director of VR and AR at Google
AR can also preview a products’ potential true-to-life — a strategy trialled in certain Lego
stores, which house kiosks that allow customers to scan a product’s packaging to see what
it will look like, in 3D, after being built.
BRINGING ONLINE & OFFLINE TOGETHER TO DELIGHT SHOPPERS
For Christmas 2017, Australian retailer Myer used augmented reality to enhance its festive
campaign, created with Clemenger BBDO to tell the story of an elf at Christmas time. The
																																																								6
L'Oreal buys mobile app provider of digital makeovers, the Business Times, 2018
7
Digiday, Snapchats Programmatic AR Ads, 2018
GET RETAIL SMART
Transforming Retail with Augmented Reality
	
department store released a story book, seasonal
catalogues, gift cards and gift tags that could be
augmented using an AR app called Elfvision, to create a
much more engaging festive experience for families. The
campaign also included an AR treasure hunt across Myer
stores, offering a truly integrated campaign. Consumer
responses to the interactivity of the whole experience
were positive, with one customer commenting that “the
Christmas catalogue with its talking characters is a delight,” and another describing the app
and treasure hunt as “wonderful for young and old.”8
AUGMENTING OPPORTUNITY WITH AR
Leveraging technology for technology’s sake will do little to improve the customer
experience in a meaningful way —it is how this technology is used to enhance the customer
journey that is important. For businesses, AR can provide the opportunity to reduce costs,
increase sales, strengthen their brand reputation and engage customers. It can offer people
a more emotional and engaging shopping experience, where a certain level of risk and
distance associated with online shopping can be replaced with confidence and
engagement. The possible benefits of implementing AR technology in retail are abundant
and only expected to grow as the technology becomes more mainstream.
																																																								8
Apple ITunes Reviews
GET RETAIL SMART
Transforming Retail with Augmented Reality
	
If you are interested in learning more about the subject of this article, please contact
Sarah Emmerson, Insights Planner, emmersons@bbdoknows.com
ABOUT BBDO KNOWS
BBDO KNOWS is a planning resource for the BBDO network.
BBDO KNOWS offers thinking, strategy, insights and inspiration on key categories, key
themes and consumer segments.
If you are interested in learning more about the way BBDO thinks please contact Melanie
Norris, Global Planning Director, norrism@bbdoknows.com.
DISCLAIMER
The information and materials in this article are for general information purposes only. Whilst we try to ensure that
all information and data in this article is accurate, complete and up to date, this article should not be relied upon
and you should seek advice if you intend to use or rely upon any of the insights or data contained in this article.
This article must not be shared, downloaded, copied or distributed for commercial purposes without the prior
approval of BBDO. © BBDO 2018 All rights reserved.

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Get Retail Smart - Transforming Retail with Augmented Reality

  • 1. GET RETAIL SMART Transforming Retail with Augmented Reality
  • 2. GET RETAIL SMART Transforming Retail with Augmented Reality Technology has revolutionised and disrupted the retail industry in recent years. The next generation of technology offers category players the opportunity to drive the upcoming transformation on their terms. Augmented reality (AR) allows retailers to provide consumers with opportunities to preview, plan, and engage with products like never before, improving the customer purchasing experience and boosting sales and loyalty. “Over time, I think [having augmented reality features] will be as key as having a website” –Tim Cook, Apple CEO1 Retailers are predicted to make an AR leap in the near future. 41% of consumers in the UK and US already expect to be offered access to augmented reality in retail2 , and more than half (51%) think retailers are failing to take full advantage of the technology now available to them1 . 900 million smartphones are forecast to be AR-enabled globally by the end of 2018 3 , and as AR becomes a more standard and accessible technology, consumer expectations for its application will only increase. AR therefore will become a must, as it presents opportunities to add huge value for retailers and consumers alike. TRANSFORMING ONLINE RETAIL Online, AR provides retailers with vast opportunities to increase efficiency and drive sales. Returns cost UK retailers an estimated £60bn a year, £20bn of which is generated by items bought online4 . AR could help retailers reduce the rate of product returns (and thereby the associated cost) by allowing consumers to preview a product seemingly in the physical world before purchase. AR could also help reduce the number of abandoned online shopping baskets, which are currently worth an estimated £18bn to UK retailers each year5 , by making the experience of previewing items much more compelling. A third of consumers say they would be more likely to buy something after using mixed/augmented reality to preview products1 . AR offers an incredible opportunity to better connect customers to products in a way that has previously been difficult in online retail. Several retailers have developed apps to enable this. L’Oréal’s Makeup Genius allows users to virtually try on beauty products on their mobile 1 Forbes 2018 2 DigitalBridge, Augmented Reality—Changing the Face of Retail, 2017 3 Digi-Capital, Augmented/Virtual Reality Report Q4 2018 4 UKTN, 2017 5 Barclaycard, 2018
  • 3. GET RETAIL SMART Transforming Retail with Augmented Reality device’s screen. The app was originally lipstick-only, but after seeing an increase in sales L’Oréal developed it further to include all types of makeup. The brand has since seen its app be downloaded more than 20 million times6 . Footlocker and BBDO NY released a Snapchat AR lens to build engagement for the Gatorade AJ1 sneakers, prior to their launch in December 2017. The campaign tapped into the sneaker ‘unboxing’ trend, in which certain influencers are given early access to products to build excitement, and inverted it. Rather than allowing a select few people to try out the product before launch, anyone could do so via the AR lens. In the two days the campaign ran, it gained over 4 million impressions7 . BRIDGING THE GAP WITH IN-STORE Opportunities around AR are not restricted to online retail. For instance, the technology could transform packaging, providing shoppers with additional information about a product and allowing potential questions to be answered in-store at the point of purchase. In July 2017, Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn launched an augmented reality scanning application, the AH Product Scanner. The app allows customers to scan a sticker on a product to reveal more information about its origin, ingredients, nutritional value and suggested recipes. But applications are not purely functional - interactive packaging could help bring brands to life, adding games, contests and content to packaging, making it a viable touchpoint for customer engagement. “AR is set to reconnect physical and digital retail.” – Greg Jones, director of VR and AR at Google AR can also preview a products’ potential true-to-life — a strategy trialled in certain Lego stores, which house kiosks that allow customers to scan a product’s packaging to see what it will look like, in 3D, after being built. BRINGING ONLINE & OFFLINE TOGETHER TO DELIGHT SHOPPERS For Christmas 2017, Australian retailer Myer used augmented reality to enhance its festive campaign, created with Clemenger BBDO to tell the story of an elf at Christmas time. The 6 L'Oreal buys mobile app provider of digital makeovers, the Business Times, 2018 7 Digiday, Snapchats Programmatic AR Ads, 2018
  • 4. GET RETAIL SMART Transforming Retail with Augmented Reality department store released a story book, seasonal catalogues, gift cards and gift tags that could be augmented using an AR app called Elfvision, to create a much more engaging festive experience for families. The campaign also included an AR treasure hunt across Myer stores, offering a truly integrated campaign. Consumer responses to the interactivity of the whole experience were positive, with one customer commenting that “the Christmas catalogue with its talking characters is a delight,” and another describing the app and treasure hunt as “wonderful for young and old.”8 AUGMENTING OPPORTUNITY WITH AR Leveraging technology for technology’s sake will do little to improve the customer experience in a meaningful way —it is how this technology is used to enhance the customer journey that is important. For businesses, AR can provide the opportunity to reduce costs, increase sales, strengthen their brand reputation and engage customers. It can offer people a more emotional and engaging shopping experience, where a certain level of risk and distance associated with online shopping can be replaced with confidence and engagement. The possible benefits of implementing AR technology in retail are abundant and only expected to grow as the technology becomes more mainstream. 8 Apple ITunes Reviews
  • 5. GET RETAIL SMART Transforming Retail with Augmented Reality If you are interested in learning more about the subject of this article, please contact Sarah Emmerson, Insights Planner, emmersons@bbdoknows.com ABOUT BBDO KNOWS BBDO KNOWS is a planning resource for the BBDO network. BBDO KNOWS offers thinking, strategy, insights and inspiration on key categories, key themes and consumer segments. If you are interested in learning more about the way BBDO thinks please contact Melanie Norris, Global Planning Director, norrism@bbdoknows.com. DISCLAIMER The information and materials in this article are for general information purposes only. Whilst we try to ensure that all information and data in this article is accurate, complete and up to date, this article should not be relied upon and you should seek advice if you intend to use or rely upon any of the insights or data contained in this article. This article must not be shared, downloaded, copied or distributed for commercial purposes without the prior approval of BBDO. © BBDO 2018 All rights reserved.