Pokémon Go Forth into the Future of Retail

What does Pokémon Go and your retail business have in common? A lot, actually. Coverage of the augmented reality (AR) game’s launch this year has been as hot as a summer’s day in August.

You might be seeking a little reprieve from the heat, but I’m going to caution against it if you’re a brand or retailer.

If you’re too cool for school and haven’t downloaded the app yet, Pokémon Go is the most recent game from the massive Pokemon franchise playable on smartphones for free. The game uses your phone’s GPS to track your location in real-time and transposes the virtual world of Pokémon as it were the real world via your phone’s camera and gyroscope. Pokémon Go is played between the two worlds, where players can run around in real life catching Pokémon, battling other gamers, and training their legion.

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The Hype is Real and Reality is Hybrid

Less than a decade ago I studied Augmented Reality, never thinking it would be so accessible and carry such mass appeal. After Pokémon Go was released in July 2016 it amassed 75 million downloads, breaking app store launch-day records surpassing the number of active Twitter and Tinder users in just days! Everyone I know and their mothers are playing this game!

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The widespread adoption of this game isn’t even the most significant part of this launch! It’s the fact that our reality is a world in which people will move seamlessly between worlds. A huge portion of the population are using technology to enhance the world around them!

Going Forth into the future of Retail

With Pokémon Go augmented reality is now in the mainstream. Sure, there were other games before Pokémon Go – Ingress, also made by Niantic the that studio brought us Go – but we’re reaching the tipping point now. Soon this level of technology will be integrated with our daily lives.

AR is disrupting your retail business. Technologies like augmented reality will only continue to elevate our real world experiences, and companies should take note

Think of the improvements you can make for shoppers during the path to purchase with AR! According to a study conducted by Walker Sands, more than half of consumers think virtual reality eCommerce will impact their buying decisions, and 62 percent are interested in trying VR shopping.

Augmented Reality Already Realized in Retail

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Topshop, 2011 – Created a virtual fitting room for a new collection of dresses, allowing customers to “dress-up” without removing any clothing.

IKEA, 2013 – the big-box furniture retailer implemented AR to bring their catalogue to life in your own living-room, allowing consumers to custom design rooms simply.

LEGO, 2014 – Lego Fusion uses special bricks recognized by the app on your device to help you build onto a set digitally. Enforcing offline play while letting users take sets with them on the go.

Alibaba, 2016 – The Chinese eComm giant launched research lab, GnomeMagic Lab, which will integrate VR and AR technologies to help sellers on Alibaba platforms to build their own 3D product inventory

Sephora, 2016 – The cosmetics company is launched a new Sephora Virtual Artist feature uses facial recognition to let users try on different lipsticks and looks similar to Snapchat’s filters

Virtual and Augmented Commerce Applications

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Pokémon Go is a great example of how this technology is making it’s way into the hands of consumers. Here are a few ways you could be using augmented reality for your business:

  • Enhancing service and wayfinding with in-store augmented displays
  • In-depth product views and details with 360 video
  • Virtual try-on allows consumers to browse accurately before purchasing
  • Encourage browsing of new or moved sections of your store
  • Information overlays could give consumers access to details not visible to the naked eye
  • Shoppers from around the world will have a consistent experience facilitated through technology
  • Shopping on the go will be easy no matter where a shopper is located.

Get Started Early!

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With Pokémon Go in the hands of millions of users, AR is here. What Tinder did to thumb-based decision-making, Pokémon Go has done to educate smartphone users about the opportunity in AR.

AR will rapidly transform consumer’s expectations, and will influence your own experience design. A mixed reality commerce world lets users customize their own experiences to exactly what they want. Resulting in increased satisfaction and efficiency throughout the buying journey.

Virtual and Augmented reality in retail isn’t an appropriation of the shopping experiences we’re all familiar with on and offline. These tools should be used to surpass modern-day retailing; moving commerce into the future.

The technology is here, now – so what’s stopping you from getting started?

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