Retailers across all industries are learning the value of going digital across multiple touchpoints in an effort to connect with their customers. As such, they are quickly adapting and enhancing their strategies, thereby offering a more interactive (and overall exciting) customer experience which doubles as a differentiator to stand above competitors. These technological transformations are not limited to any particular industry. We are seeing it in fashion, home decor, publishing, even the food and automotive industries. And their customers are loving it.
Gone is the sparkle of the old differentiating ways staying connected to customers, such as email newsletters. Brands are finding new methods to introduce technology by adopting new solutions to satisfy the demands of a shopper. For instance, Saks Fifth Avenue revealed they will come out with an augmented reality concept to make it easier for customers to try on products, complete transactions, and talk to their stylists all from their salon chair. Audi also revealed that they will let customers take a virtual test drive since some dealerships only stock a limited amount of cars. The virtual test drive will allow customers to test all the cars in the Audi catalog. Wayfair, an online store for furniture and decor, launched a new augmented reality enabled app that will let customers to see how their furniture or products will look in their own homes. Lowe’s has also included an augmented reality experience in their app for in store navigation as long as the app is used from any Tango-enabled mobile device. Then there are websites such as BooHoo, which added a visual search camera to their mobile website, thereby not limiting their online shoppers to textual search for items of interest.
In additional to the technological aspect, many brands are also partnering up and collaborating to create exclusive benefits for their customers collectively. A brand named Rent the Runway, which is an online service that allows for members to rent designer dresses or accessories for a limited time, will partner up with department store Neiman Marcus so their members can pick up or drop off rented clothing or even have a one-on-one session with in store stylists. Target and Barnes & Noble are partnering up to make life a little easier for college students by making Target’s college essential programs accessible in Barnes & Noble stores. Hy-Vee, the supermarket chain, is partnering up with Orangetheory, a fitness company, to make it easier for Orangetheory members to access dietitians and sample nutritional products from Hy-Vee. Home Depot and Laurel & Wolf are collaborating so that customers can have an option to work with Laurel & Wolf to create custom interior design plans.
The physical and digital worlds are slowly unifying to make an immersive experience for customers. The BMW 5 series is now equipped with many accommodations to make time spent in the car more enjoyable. You can now watch live streams, order items for delivery, and make restaurant reservations all from the back seat of your car. Marie Claire and Mastercard collaborated to create a pop up shop for customers to have access to products from virtual skincare mirrors. MYZONE created a personalized fitness experience for each member by combining their fitness app, tracker and their virtual fitness classes. Best Buy created a service called Assured Living to track the behaviors and movements of family members you want to look out for all from an app. When the movements vary from the usual patterns, the user is sent a notification.
2018 is proving to be an interesting year for industries across the board as they step it up with new technological features and collaborations to claim the lions share of the market. Although we mentioned many in this short blog post, it’s barely the tip of the iceberg. What is your brand doing to stay ahead of the curve?