While the retail customer experience is a story of evolution and adaptation, the in-store shopping experience hasn’t changed much.
For thousands of years the in-store buying process has been simple. A prospective customer visits a store in person, talks to a shopkeeper or sales rep and then makes their decision to buy or not.
As technology evolves, the customer experience improves with the ability to test the comfort of furniture or see it in multiple colours.
Over time, many stores now offer additional perks such as delivery or setup, but the in-store retail customer experience largely remains the same.
Ecommerce Opens New Doors – but Customer Experience Can Evolve Further
The next major evolution to the retail customer experience was the ability to sell furniture over the web which has blossomed over the last 20 years. Even for furniture retailers slow to adopt ecommerce, they acknowledge having a robust digital presence increases the exposure of their brand, bringing in more foot traffic to their store.
There are certainly benefits that came from this evolution. Because many furniture shoppers still prefer to see furniture in-person before they make a buying decision, the Web has leveled the playing field by making it possible for family owned furniture businesses to better compete with ecommerce giants like Wayfair and Amazon. Artisans were able to take customized orders online and provide unique and beautiful furniture.
But even with the Web, something was still missing from the retail customer experience: certainty.
Whether the buyer views and buys your products online or chooses to come into your store, the status quo customer experience involves an element of guessing how it will look in context of the colours of the room, other home decor and the overall design aesthetic.
This uncertainty creates doubt, which can lead to them shopping elsewhere or buying then returning your products.
Certainly not ideal – even if it’s the way things have always been done.
However, as Bob Dylan sang, times they are a-changin’. This applies to the retail industry and savvy retailers have introduced a game changer to their in-store customer experience.
The Next Evolution in Retail Customer Experience: Augmented Reality
The in-store retail furniture customer experience has been going through a major evolution once again. Augmented reality has been seamlessly incorporated into the in-store customer experience, reducing doubt and increasing sales for savvy retailers across Canada.
By giving their customers the certainty they’re looking for, these retailers – including your competition – have revolutionized the customer experience by taking the guesswork out of the buying decisions. Customers no longer say “I think” this sofa will look great. They know. They can actually drop it into their room and see it in context of all the existing furnishings.
These retailers know that by incorporating augmented reality into their various departments, they will stay ahead of the competition and stay top of mind with customers for future purchases.
But of course, like adopting a Web presence over the past 20 years, there will certainly be small businesses and artisans who don’t want to change. There will be those who embrace the status quo, ignore the industry’s trends, and what customers want. These status quo retailers prefer to keep their customers guessing. These folks will gamble that augmented reality is merely a trend and then struggle to catch up.
They will be at a competitive disadvantage and in 5 years wish they had taken the opportunity today to get ahead rather than play catch-up. Don’t be a status quo retailer.
Will your Customer Experience Evolve? The Choice is Yours
Augmented retail is here and it’s only going to become more ubiquitous over the next 5 years. You can choose to ignore it and lose out or embrace change and adapt with the industry. Ultimately, the choice is yours.
At Picture This 3D, our mission is to level the playing field for small businesses like you. Chat with us and we’ll show you the amazing possibilities you can give your customers through augmented reality.
It’s an exciting journey ahead. We hope you’ll come with us.