With 92% of retail sales still taking place in the bricks and mortar shops (according to Forrester Research) and with over 1 billion smartphones predicted to be sold in 2014 (Gartner) there is no surprise that IBM decided to take advantage of this market opportunity. Researchers at IBM Labs have announced yesterday the launch of a new augmented reality app that will make it possible for consumers to receive personalised product information while browsing through store shelves.
Don’t mistake this app with the multitude of ‘product scanner’ apps that provide extra information to consumers based on a product’s bar code. The new IBM app uses a mobile device’s camera to recognise different packaging and to display via augmented reality technology various details about the product – reviews, ingredients, vouchers, discounts and much more. According to IBM, users can create their own profile within the app with the things that matter to them such as ingredients they are allergic to, favourite foods, or the maximum quantity of sugar they would like from a product. By pointing their smartphone camera to the merchandise, users will receive personalised product information plus the latest offers and promotions for the products viewed. These are designed to increase the buying intention and shop loyalty.
And this app is also a useful non-intrusive market research tool for retailers. Capturing the likes and dislikes of customers will allow more targeted cross-selling and up-selling promotions, optimized floor plans, better product arrangements and even new point-of-purchase AR-friendly displays. “By closing the gap between the online and in-store shopping experience, marketers can appeal to the individual needs of consumers and keep them coming back.” said Sima Nadler, Retail Lead, IBM Research.
With no details regarding the actual launch date of the app we can only assume that this will be launched at some point this year in the US, with the rest of the world coming soon.