Computer Vision: Picturing The Future Of Retail

Virtual reality could completely change the shopping experience


It’s no big secret that we live in a consumer-driven society.

The buyer is king and retailers have to keep up with current trends through investing time and money in data-informed insights to shape their core business strategies.

Big data will always play a part in influencing how retailers operate and market their products and brands. Advancing deep learning algorithms are increasingly being used to power the development of brands and products that consumers want, with greater knowledge on the individual personal buying experience.

Emotion plays a huge part in marketing and brand building

But, it’s not all stats and figures anymore. The future of retail could be led by computer vision and mixed reality technologies to transform the way we shop and interact with our favorite brands. Emotion plays a huge part in marketing and brand building, so retailers are now looking at innovative technologies that push the boundaries of interaction and emotion in the buying experience.

There’s been a lot of buzz around the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear, and PlayStation VR recently, but we’re also seeing start-ups breaking onto the scene with more retail-led applications for computer vision and mixed reality tech.

Outdoor giants The North Face have used virtual reality as a means to enhance their in-store experiences, and take the customer outdoors – to Yosemite National Park and the Moab desert to be exact. In this case, VR enhances the brand’s mission statement of wanting to ‘inspire a global movement of exploration’. Consumers can also imagine themselves in the outdoors, wearing and using North Face products, whilst conveniently in the place of purchase.

How about dodging the crowds entirely? UK startup Metail is using computer vision to create scaled digital 3D models of users. Imagine trying on your entire holiday wardrobe without having to battle the crowds! This could soon be possible with Metail’s pioneering project, the MeModel consumer app. Online retailers could really benefit from this concept, by inputting your measurements and uploading pictures, you could have an avatar in seconds.

These technologies provoke emotion in the buying decision

Our buying decisions are grounded in emotional investment in a product, not to mention entertainment and engagement with a brand. These technologies, not only power incredible insights into tailoring experiences, but go further in being able to entertain and provoke emotion in the buying decision by letting users position themselves in situations that traditional retail experiences cannot offer.

With augmented reality apps, you could confidently order a new bedroom suite online, knowing that it will fit perfectly and go with the decor. Even the decor – Moroccan sand or Eggshell? No more tiny tester pots for you – you can try out these colors in a truly personalized shopping experience, overlaid onto your own home.

High street retailers offering these experiences within the feel of a traditional shopping experience are hoping to win back lost business to e-commerce sites, that have grown substantially in recent years. However, through 3D avatars, and apps available on mobile devices, e-tailers are bringing this tech right into the home, which could prove much more accessible and attainable in the long run.

Regardless of what kind of vendor, the early adoption of this technology will give businesses a stand out advantage among the competition. Retailers can truly customize the consumer experience, advertise full product ranges more effectively, and also design more engaging and customer-friendly store layouts and displays to increase revenue – like the popular in store #selfie marketing campaigns.

The rate at which this technology is improving on itself is extremely fast, so retailers will need to invest money in the right talent to keep them ahead of the curve!

Looking small

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