How to... Use retail tech innovation to grow your business (and improve your pop up)

girl using VR headset in sook space Oxford Street

Sook is all about bringing tech into retail - blending the online shopping experience with the offline, and creating an IRL experience with the benefits of the virtual.

But what other retail-tech innovations are getting us all excited? 

Read on our roundup of some of the fun stuff going on in the mixed reality sphere right now: the latest tech shaping the retail landscape, alongside Sook’s flexible, digitally-connected pop-up spaces. 

Why mixed reality?

A study by Capgemini Research Institute found that 6 out of 10 shoppers prefer the physical retail experience, and to deliver for their consumers, brands need to provide just that: an experience. New ways of connecting with customers online have come thick and fast: chatbots; one-to-one video chats with staff; and shop-through-social, but retail is starting to catch up with the help of mixed reality initiatives that are making the high street a special place to be. Here are some of our faves…

Smart Changing Rooms

Virtual fitting room technology looks like it’s shaping up to be more than a novelty. Genuinely useful smart mirrors, like the ones we’ve installed at our new sites in Birmingham and Southampton, use AR technologies, to bring different capabilities to life. Depending on occupier need, they could allow shoppers to see how they look when trying on different kinds of clothing on themselves without physically changing, see what other kinds of products are in stock, and even purchase directly from the changing room. 

VR Viewers

Once upon a time, there was the IKEA Place app. Taking VR viewing to a new level, you could scan your abode, browse their catalogue, and place true-to-scale furniture right there in your dinky little home. Now, however, there’s IKEA Studio that uses the unique LiDAR technology on iPhones to allow you to design entire rooms

Want more? Check out the Ray Ban website. You’ll be able to ‘try on’ any of their pairs to see how much of a dude you’ll look like. Or visit inkhunter to design your tattoo, on your own arm, in real time. 

While these examples exist primarily online, it’s all part of the expansion of the retail space to include everything outside traditional bricks ‘n’ mortar stores, with the potential to drive footfall at a later date. According to DevOps solutions provider, Perforce, creating a virtual shopping experience helps both retailers and consumers, reducing overall operating costs and offering immersive experiences for consumers to try and customize before they buy. Plus it’s bringing excitement and interest, and we all need some of that in our lives. 

AR games in store

AR overlays digital information on real-world elements, with Pokémon GO likely being the best-known example. Nike is already regularly using augmented reality to drive experiential retail instore. Partnering with augmented reality platform providers 8th Wall, and BRDG Studiosthey’ve launched a prize giveaway which rewards customers for coming into its stores and playingfive sport-centric AR gamesusing their smartphones, as part of their PLAY NEW initiative.

Watch BRDG Studio’s Nike PLAY NEW case study on Vimeo

VR and AR in physical retail is growing rapidly, with Goldman Sachs estimating the industry is already worth £1.6billion a year, so we’re excited to see where it goes. 

Want to make some waves on the high street?
Sook is the digitally connected pop-up space provider that lets you experiment with physical retail and connect with your customers in a whole new way. Contact us or click here to see all our spaces.

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