Retail’s Virtual Reality Check

Connecting with customers in the physical and virtual worlds requires tools your mom-and-pop shop never imagined.

At its root, connected retail is about one thing: Creating amazing and friction-less customer experiences. 

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Connected retail is about creating amazing and friction-less customer experiences.

That’s where Intel technology-based unified commerce solutions come into the picture, connecting with customers every time, everywhere and in every way they choose to engage.

Getting there is not without its challenges.

It means providing a seamless flow among multiple devices; converging the physical and virtual worlds into one orchestrated experience.

Here are some key use cases showing how unified commerce solutions are helping to reshape the retail floor while re-inventing how consumers interact with retailers.

[Also on Longitudes: Retail on the Go]

A unified commerce platform

As online shopping takes an ever-bigger share of wallet, brick-and-mortar retailers need to be sure their in-store experiences stand out, from the big picture to the small details — all the way through checkout. ncr_pos_intel

NCR’s latest point of sale (POS) terminals, powered by Intel, feature high performance and multiple connectivity options in an attractive small footprint, with low power consumption that allows them to be quietly fan-less.

They run on NCR’s innovative unified commerce platform, built on Intel architecture and offering an open ecosystem of mix-and-matchable retail applications.

NCR also showcased their newest Intel-powered NCR SelfServ kiosks, offering the speed and convenience of self-checkout beyond the grocery store.

A smart digital store solution

Capgemini has been helping to usher in the era of the smart store by putting a new spin on some familiar retail activities like these three components of their smart digital store solution:

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Capgemini interactive 3-D remodeling configurator

This addicting technology lets consumers build, change and experience the kitchen of their dreams before rolling up their sleeves or opening up their wallets.

Using 3D-printed furniture and appliance models, Intel-powered perceptual computing capabilities and Capgemini software, the configurator senses placement of the models on a stage and shows the results on-screen.

Finishes, styles and colors can be customized as well. Using virtual reality headwear, customers can even “enter,” look around and experience their rooms from the inside.

It’s easy, fast, fun — and helps sales associates and customers alike.

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Live feedback with thumbs-up gesture

By now, most of us have probably clicked “Like” hundreds of times online. 

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Brick-and-mortar retailers need to be sure their in-store experiences stand out.

Now retailers can elicit the same immediate feedback from shoppers in their stores, as Intel-powered perceptual computing and Capgemini proprietary software bring that clickable hand to life.

As customers encounter a product, display, special offer or store feature, they can share their reaction with a simple, intuitive thumbs-up or thumbs-down gesture.

The feedback is captured for real-time or later analysis, providing actionable insight to the retailer that can be the basis for further engagement and store improvements.

The solution can be applied in many settings, even shop windows. It can also be extended to social media.

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Boulanger virtual wall, kiosks and sales-assist tablets

Partnering with French high-tech retailer Boulanger, Capgemini brought online capabilities into a brick-and-mortar setting to connect multiple sales channels and combine the benefits of online and physical retail.

Using a kiosk and virtual wall, customers have easy access to the same amount of background and comparison information as online, but also the ability to see the real-life products and engage with store associates, who are equipped with tablets for more informed service.

The solution allows Boulanger to offer more product choices in the physical store, while reducing space and inventory.

It also enables the personal interaction with store personnel and add-on sales opportunities that can increase sales per square foot.

The addition of analytics helps Boulanger gain insight that makes for more proactive and strategic inventory management and store operations.

A magic mirror

Innovative technologies from Intel and Samsung come together to capture the imagination of customers using the Mirum Magic Mirrormagicmirror

Using a Samsung no-backlight OLED display and Intel RealSense technology, this virtual mirror lets shoppers create looks, try them on and add accessories without the help of a store associate and without going into a fitting room — even when the item is not in stock.

They can then share their looks via social media.

Retailers are able to track and analyze data on product popularity.

They can also use data to more strategically deploy sales associates based on the level of interest in items at various price points, helping to reduce operational costs for service on low-margin but high-volume products.

[Also on Longitudes: Delivery on Demand]

The supermarket of the future

COOP is the largest cooperative of supermarkets in Italy.

Working together with Accenture, Avanade, Intel and Microsoft, they showcased a new supermarket experience that feels like a local open-air market but uses advanced digital solutions to share information, facilitate navigation and improve staff communication.

Interactive display tables and smart shelves provide information on origin, allergens, nutritional data, even carbon footprint.

Digital displays share real-time information on promotions, best sellers and

Second-screen technologies allow suppliers to provide product or promotional content and interact with shoppers, giving them a more personalized, relevant experience.

Communication tools enable store staff to speak with the warehouse in real time to quickly replenish shelves.

Additionally, data is collected and analyzed for inventory control, sales trends and customer behavior, enabling operational improvement and reduced costs.

The solution is an innovative blend of industry expertise, hardware and software, specialized services and cloud platform that is demonstrating the power of unified commerce and collaboration to transform the retail experience.

It’s an exciting time for connected retailers.

Unified commerce continues to grow — with emerging solutions being developed every day that will lead to richer customer experiences. goldbrown2

Images courtesy of: Iot@Intel

This article originally appeared on IoT@Intel and was republished with permission. 


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Paul Butcher is a marketing manager with 22 years of experience at Intel.

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