Coolhobo AR shopping – Part 1, value for consumers
October 5th, 2018 | Loic
Value for consumers or why AR shopping is more than a gimmick for consumers. We believe 50 years of status quo is about to change with AR shopping.
Many people played with PokemonGo, some bought new furniture with IKEA PLACE and since August 9th, few early-adopters are exploring Magic Leap One. The entire AR industry is developing at a rapid pace, often using buzz words and hashtags to be seen as the most innovative companies. We sometimes do the same, because in our current society, every company fights for attention.
However, writing this on a Saturday, I have a bit more time to dig into the value we create. This first post describes the value created for in-store shoppers & consumers who are our most important stakeholders. In other words, if you buy groceries and consumer goods, this might interest you.
Behind what I usually tag as #ARshopping is the concept of a virtual shopping assistant. He (she? It?) is on a mission to bring you both experiences and convenience. His second mission is to learn from you, because we are all different and have different needs. AR is magical in the sense it can personalized the shopping experience: physically stores can’t be modified to fit everyone’s need, but virtually we can make it happen. So let’s dig into the value we create.
As written in a previous post, supermarkets haven’t changed much in the past 50 years, but consumers have. My generation has grown with social media and mobile technologies, allowing instant gratification anywhere anytime. When buying online, you have more choices, more information about the products and you often check other consumers’ reviews and opinions before making your own decision. But most importantly, when you type in the search bar “chocolate” , hundreds of chocolate choices appear. I usually type “French white wine” and I expect to see the great Burgundy or Alsace wines I love.
None of those advantages are available in a supermarket and that’s what we intend to change.
Home screen and In-store search function UI
An augmented store is a physical location that has previously been mapped, so that we have a 3D digital copy of the physical space. This allows us to offer a search function, where any product listed in the store can be add to a shopping list. Various filters are also available to suit different shoppers profiles: those looking for discounts, for new products, for healthy options, special diets, etc.. Based on that shopping list, you can start navigating to reach each item, simply following our 3D shopping assistant. Not only you won’t forget items that you wanted, but the shopping assistant will find the shortest and time-saving way. Visual filters are used to highlight the desired items and hide the others.
In short, the augmented store reduces efforts, simplifies, avoids hassles and saves time.
Augemented store: follow Coolhobo's shopping assistant to find your items!
Back to my wine example. I was born and raised in Alsace, which is famous for its wine whites – delicious and elegant Rieslings and Gewürztraminers being the most famous ones. However, within my own region I have a hard time remembering the differences between producers, brands, wine grapes, etc… I now live in Shenzhen and regularly shop at Olé supermarket, which is well-known for its wine selection, offering up to 1000 SKU. How to choose between them? Which vintage is now good to drink? Shall I bother my friend Lucas who is a wine expert? Or Google / Baidu each bottle?
I’m a lazy consumer and I believe to a certain extent, we all are. I want the information right there, in context. I want assistance when I have to decide which wine to pick and I want that information to be unbiased – no offence to sales assistants in the wine section, but they take commissions on pushing a specific product, that’s not really the professional advices I’m expecting.
This is precisely why we designed the augmented product. Arriving near the desired product, you will start seeing through your mobile screen (hopefully soon through AR glasses) relevant information, virtually attached to each item on shelf. Initially very basic information, such a monthly sales – eCommerce has proven this creates trust, cause we all want to be unique but actually not too much – or number of stars for each item. Since the AR experience is persistent, you can also see which of your friends recommends you a particular product. If those 3 information are not enough, simply click on “more” and immerse yourself in a virtual environment, access more content, such a videos, recipes, consumers reviews and photos and brand history.
In short, the augmented product brings information when and where you need it. Since that information is created by other shoppers, it creates more trust.
Augemented product: the right information when most needed
Why do we still go to stores if almost everything can be ordered and delivered, often within 30min? I tend to believe that the fundamental reason is that Homo Sapiens Sapiens are social creatures and shopping is a social activity. I don’t simply go to Ole to feed myself, but to experience international cultures, discover new products, get inspired and entertain myself. Again, I’m lazy, so if I make the effort to actually go there, there better be something fun, cool and entertaining. But usually it’s just the same old store, the same old merchandizing and the same old sales assistant still trying to recommend me the same product. She doesn’t remember that I’m not a father, so I don’t need to buy infant milk powder. No offense, but computers do remember better than most humans.
Ok, now think differently.
Augmented lifestyle is using AR inherent features, that’s to say offering an virtual experience on the top of the real environment. We learn from our users and offer them personalized AR experiences, in forms of mini-games or virtual environments. Learning also means that we won’t even suggest them if you never interact with that feature before. But we will make sure that we offer product hunts for those product hunters out there, royal battles for the gamers, 3D art designs for the artists, etc.. Since everything is virtual, our only limit is our imagination. Luckily for us, we work under scrum methodology and test new concepts every 2 weeks, so we can take your opinion into account and offer a new experience regularly.
In short, the augmented lifestyle brings fun and entertainment to supermarkets.
Testing news AR concepts
I hope I made our own definition of #ARshopping clearer. We are working every day on creating more value and have more features in our backlog, but one thing we will never turned down is user/shopper feedback, so please feel free to share it!
In part 2, I will delve into the value created for retailers. But for now, keep learning and exploring new (virtual) possibilities!