Augmented reality in your shopping cart
The popular concept of augmented reality may soon reach as far as your shopping routine, ClickZ report. IBM Research has announced that they are working on a mobile app which will help shoppers find the products to suit their needs, and retailers to gather information and target their marketing.
Here’s how it should work from the shopper’s point of view: when you enter the store for the first time, you will be offered to download the app and create a list of products you are planning to buy.
Say, you are looking for something sweet that is low on sugar and, preferably, is on sale at the moment – the app will let you know when you see it as you are walking through the store and looking at the shelves through the camera of your phone or tablet. If you link the app with your social media profiles, you’ll even see if your friends have commented on the product you are about to buy!
For shoppers like myself who genuinely dislike the time-consuming process of walking through supermarket stalls and looking for the right stuff, while still trying to get the best deal, an app like this would be great.
As for the retailers, who would be the ones to purchase the app and customize it according to their branding, product range and marketing needs, the application can provide an opportunity to get closer to their customers in a mutually beneficial way.
First of all, it’s an easy way to prompt the customers to share their identity, buying preferences, social media accounts and other info with the store – all of this data can be used to target the right offers at the right people the next time they visit the store. Besides that, the app can provide retailers with a way to organize loyalty programs, giving out bonus points or coupons to returning customers who use the app.
Useful or not?
It seems that the success of this app depends on how useful it is for the customers. If it provides helpful information which makes the shopping routine faster and easier, many shoppers wouldn’t mind the inconvenience of looking at the store through the camera of their phone (or perhaps their augmented reality glasses?).
But if it turns out to be less useful, most people probably won’t go through the trouble of putting their shopping lists into the app in the first place. This means that the app’s usability and design will be extremely important – but so far, such details have not been revealed. IBM plans to release the technology by the end of the year – so soon we can see it for ourselves. I’ll keep you posted!
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