The EC industry is currently undergoing major changes at a dizzying pace. We are now in an era of using AR and VR to encourage customers to experience and support their purchasing motivation. Introducing EC in the United States, which will change drastically.
How will shopping behavior change with VR and AR? The latest case of mail order & retail in the United States
The US online shopping market is said to be ahead of Japan in EC technology and marketing. I went to the retail conference "Shoptalk" (held in March in Las Vegas, USA) where companies such as Apple and Amazon are on stage to study the technology and the latest cases that are currently being talked about in the United States. VR, AR ... How are the latest technologies, which have become a hot topic in the Japanese IT industry, used in EC? I will report such information this time.
The Future Shop I belong to has been participating in American conferences for the past four years with the aim of checking the latest cases and technological trends in the United States and using them for functional development. This time, I visited a large-scale conference called "Shoptalk" for the second time this year.
First of all, I would like to tell you before serializing the "Shoptalk" report. There are several physical store and e-commerce themed conferences held in the United States, but "Shoptalk" is characterized by the appearance of corporate managers such as Apple and Amazon who do not appear at other conferences.
In addition, 60% of the speakers are chief executive officers such as CEO and CMO. Many business managers are also on stage. From these people's mouths, new technologies such as VR (Virtual Reality) / AR (Augmented Reality) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) that help improve customer contact points, as well as customer service and fan-making measures to build relationships with customers. We rarely have the opportunity to hear about our efforts to improve loyalty.
VR, AR …… Shopping behavior that changes visuals
First, I would like to introduce some of the technologies, solutions, and examples that impressed me. There was a company booth that I had never seen at the conference exhibition that I attended for the first time in 2016. One of them is BOLD METRICS, which provides SaaS solutions for personalizing the shopping experience.
The exhibit was a solution called "VR METRIC" that uses VR to try on clothes. It is a solution that allows you to quickly create a mannequin that is the same as your body shape by voice input and try on clothes in VR. It seems that European apparel makers have already introduced it.
The mannequin is shown on the display behind the photo, but this is the image of trying on on VR.
It seems that it takes more than 45 minutes for general users to make a mannequin suitable for their body shape on VR. It is said that "VR METRIC" makes it easy to create with just voice input. The website of BOLD METRICS introduces "VR METRIC" as follows.
With BOLD METRICS's body prediction engine, you can generate accurate avatars by answering up to 8 simple questions. This is a new world. You will be able to do various things in the virtual world. Deployers do not need to learn how to build 3D models. By leaving the hard work to "VR METRIC", users will be able to easily jump into the virtual world.
There are other examples of VR that left an impression on me. GAP makes mannequins on the Web wear clothes so that you can check the size.
This is a shot of the presentation at the venue
This is an app called "Dressing Room by Gap" announced by GAP in January 2017. The shopping user selects the GAP item they are considering purchasing. If you use the app on a device that supports Google Tango (Google's AR technology), you can "try on" clothes anytime, anywhere, and you can purchase your favorite products online.
It was developed with Avametric, which provides a virtual fitting service for apparel e-commerce. The official blog of GAP describes the aim of development as follows.
The fashion industry has never been supportive of getting people to understand how clothing actually fits (Note: consumers try on a product worn by a good looking model. I can understand the disappointment when I did it). GAP is committed to winning the trust of our customers by consistently introducing and leveraging technology in the process of delivering products that look and feel good to our customers.
Image of "Dressing Room by Gap" (from GAP's official blog)
Let me introduce the cases of other companies. Using Google's "Tango", by holding a smartphone over the store, an arrow is displayed in the aisle with AR, and an initiative to guide customers to the product they are looking for has been released.
In addition, there was a case where the size feeling such as how much space could be taken if the product before purchase was placed in my room was displayed in AR. For example, it was introduced how 32-inch and 40-inch TVs look different when placed in a room.
Certainly, even if the specifications such as size of home appliances and furniture are explained numerically, the image cannot be understood unless they are actually placed. Based on this, VR and AR may be used in the Japanese online shopping market a few years later.
Evolution of digital signage that changes store communication
Digital signage technology is also evolving. The following photo is an effort to pick up the high heels on display and display the images actually worn and detailed product information on the display.
The high heels displayed in front of the display, but when you actually pick it up ...
You can display the image you wore on the display and check the specifications etc.
It was about three years ago that the initiative to attach a QR code to the price tag of a product sold at a physical store and read it with a smartphone to move to the page where detailed product information is posted was talked about.
Actually, when I talked about that initiative, I tried to observe it in a store in New York for about an hour, but only one person tried it, so "I wonder if there is so much need to know product information in the store. I was thinking.
However, when it became possible to display detailed information on the display simply by picking up the product, I felt that there might be scenes that could be used as a new method of in-store communication.