Sad Innovation is changing how we perceive the world around us, interact with others, and discover new things. This is especially the case in growing industries, such as retail, where innovative technologies like AR and mobile commerce are making major waves. Discussing the importance of innovation in the retail industry, Kaleigh Moore recently explained for Forbes: “With total global retail sales projected to reach $28 trillion by 2020, companies across the board are working hard to capitalize on the growth of retail spending.
This also means retail is extremely competitive right now—especially with the rise of direct-to-consumer retailers who further diversify the market. New technology is one-way retailers are working to outpace the competition, with innovations bringing new solutions to market while also spurring improved customer experiences across various touchpoints.
We see this trend executed in different ways, but one area of tech innovation on the rise is around the use of Augmented Reality within a retail context. Data from Zion Market Research indicates that AR is an industry expected to be worth $133 billion by as soon as 2021. Companies like vegan cosmetics brand Lime Crime are hopping on board with this tech trend, recently launching an app that uses AR to create an immersive experience for users and customers that centers around their products.
How does it work?
When a user scans a product within the mobile app, the AR technology allows the brand’s signature character “Venus” to virtually speak to customers about the features of the item, as well as to offer educational resources, like product demos and tutorials involving the scanned item. This app launch taps into a shift illustrated by data that shows the brand’s target market of Millennial and Gen Z consumers spend more time interacting digitally than they do interact with others in the real world. But the rise of tech innovation in retail doesn’t stop with the integration of AR. Other brands are using tech in far different ways. Fashion retailer Ministry of Supply, for example, puts tech innovation at the core of their approach to product design. From coffee-infused, odor-absorbing socks to artificial intelligence-powered heated jackets, the company is researching, testing, and iterating on products to bring new problem-solving solutions to the clothing vertical.
Take their Mercury jacket, for example. Launched on Kickstarter in 2018with a target fundraising goal of $72,000, this heated jacket, which retails for $495, raised over $600,000 via Kickstarter. The tech within the jacket acts much like a Nest thermostat, measuring internal and external temperatures. From there, it automatically calculates the ideal temperature it should warm to for the wearer.
Powered by AI, it also learns wearer preferences over time and adjusts accordingly. Technology advances extend past retail purchase experiences, too. With recent news of Ford’s partnership with Agility Robotics for last-mile delivery via robots and self-driving cars, it sometimes feels like we’re nearing sci-fi status in the modern retail environment. So what does this all mean from a big-picture point of view? For one thing: Tech, in various forms, needs to be part of your brand strategy.
As technology-aided interactions with brands and consumers across different touch points become more common, there are more opportunities for sharing and extended brand reach – all while generating new data streams for retailers.” Innovation is crucial in the retail space, especially when it comes to running a successful business and connection with more customers – delivering clear value to your target market. This is possible with mobile commerce and different innovative technologies that are built around these portable platforms. The core value of innovation is that it enables smaller merchants and raising brands to build retail empires and promote their offering without major investments. Hence, merchants need to start investing funds in innovation, starting with launching their own mobile app.