And now for something completely different! As we head to the continent to take a look at an experimental augmented reality shopping experience which was trialled at a Super U supermarket at Thourotte in Northern France last week.
For one day only –a ‘giant mirror’ was installed in the middle of the Super U store– this was actually a twelve foot wide video screen comprised of smaller LED screens. As people walked past the ‘mirror’, they could see their own digital ‘reflection’ in the screens, along with some random images of animals and other things – including pigs and cows, fish and even a tree – which had apparently jumped into their trolley to come along for the ride. Each digital addition was animated and moved along with the shoppers as they walked past the screen .
Working with advertising agency, TBWA the idea behind the project is to make the shopping experience more fun. To engage shoppers and make them want to stay and dawdle amongst the supermarket aisles – rather than the obligatory trolley-dash in between work and the school run…
Normally only available on mobiles or tablets, this new use of the technology to detect the shopper and automatically render the augmented reality from a distance marks a breakthrough in this kind of technology. So now it is up to retailers to work out how this might be used to generate sales! How about in fashion retail where passers by can digitally try on the clothes as they walk past – a twenty first century version of the commission-based salesperson holding up a frock against somebody as they walk through the department? Or is that too pushy? Of course, simply by making the shopping experience more fun – and engaging shoppers in playful activities, retailers are likely to get more footfall – but how likely is it that this can be successfully converted into sales? We’ll be interested to see if and how this one develops!