Touch‑free is the future of retail. There is no turning back now. Our challenge is to successfully navigate the new reality while still maintaining our existing, valued, and emotional retail relationships. People need to shop at stores, but today’s shoppers want to know they are safe while making informed decisions for their families.
Trust isn’t just about having a good reputation, and even if you had one, your reputation will probably need to be re‑earned. With so much uncertainty out there, brick‑and‑mortar retailers and manufacturers will be viewed with increased scrutiny. If they stumble, opportunities will be seized by ambitious new players. Transparent and earnest communication is essential, and must be communicated instantly and effectively without in-person interaction.
Facts are facts. Less touching means a safer shopping experience. Mobile‑app‑based Extended Reality (XR) provides shoppers with enhanced, no-touch tools to interact with products, displays, signage, and more. Using the phone already in their hands, customers can scan packages from a safe distance, then instantly read reviews, view nutritional information and product attributes, acquire dietary alerts, explore recipes, discover product pairings, and receive incentivized promotions – all without physically handling the package — unless of course they plan to put the product in their cart.
Safer shopping also means spending less time in the store. Let’s be perfectly honest here, we all know the more time customers spend in the store, the more stuff they’re likely to buy. Today’s shoppers want to get in and get out without needlessly compromising themselves, other shoppers, and store employees. XR applications help guide customers on a virtual tour through the store, locating products based on pairings with other purchases, current in‑store incentives, or their own shopping list.
The technology also allows customers to virtually shop in their own kitchens, using existing or discarded packages to create a custom store map and shopping list for every visit. This customized map can sync with your store’s floor plan and guide customers through one‑way‑aisle traffic flow, ensuring quick, efficient, and safe shopping habits. To quote that guy with the dark sun glasses from that movie about the future, “Whoa!”
Safely back at our homes (here in the future), XR unlocks new ways for consumers to engage with brands like never before. Quarantined customers are starving for entertainment, especially kids. Using mobile XR, product packages become virtual playgrounds. Forget the plastic toy inside, the box itself is now the prize! And as people rely more on social media for staying connected, why not let your brand host a virtual happy hour with a valued customer and ten of their best friends. Sounds great, right? But, how’s it work? Is this some kind of '80s movie magic?
Extended Reality (XR) combines Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology with User Interface (UI) design to create a seamless virtual experience. Unlike VR, which is complete virtual immersion, XR is enhancement of the real world all around us, like that really cool 3D chess board from Star Wars. Instead of crushing virtual aliens in the Millennium Falcon's cargo bay, customers can earn incentive points and view recipe demos from celebrity chefs in their own kitchen. Not quite as cool, but far less dangerous!
XR experiences can be successfully bolted onto existing retail and CPG mobile apps, but the best XR apps are built from the ground up with XR integrated into the overall user experience. Regardless of your current mobile app situation, moving fast into the future is essential to survival. The sooner you earn your customers' trust, the sooner you will separate from the competition.
Whether you’re a retailer, CPG manufacturer, hospitality provider, event coordinator, or manage any place where humans need to safely congregate, The Brand Chefs’ integrated mobile XR solutions are your new and necessary reality. XR technology allows your customers to shop in‑store and beyond with confidence, convenience, and most importantly, TRUST.
You want the OG of AR? You just found him! Patrick Mallek has been pioneering the use of Augmented Reality applications for retailers and CPG manufacturers since 2013. He has introduced this exciting new technology to big‑box retailers (Walmart), national brands (Mars Wrigley), industry trade shows (PLMA, Natural Products EXPO), trade organizations (Naturally Boulder), start-up incubators... and at one time, even the local Rotary Club. His unmatched passion for game‑changing creative solutions is engaging, entertaining, and highly infectious. But be warned, after spending a few minutes in his world, you may never see retail the same way again.