THE FUTURE OF HOME IS AR
Shopping for home goods just became easier, and a whole lot more exciting. As retailers develop innovative technology, consumers can search for products from the comforts of their home. Wayfair, home goods provider, is leveraging augmented reality with its Android app, allowing customers to create virtual living spaces. The immersive features enable shoppers to see how furniture and décor will look in their homes before purchase.
While furniture is traditionally a high touch experience, Macy's has piloted in-store VR solutions, giving consumers more efficient tools to make sound decisions on home furnishing purchases. Its 3D-design experience allows customers to choose from Macy's furniture assortment and interact with selecting furnishing using a VR headset. The department store giant has plans to roll out personalized features, by letting customers virtually place furniture products in their actual living spaces.
The number of AR consumer use cases is growing, and we're excited to see "experimental shopping" become a norm.
AMAZON TO EXPAND WITH TOYS R US
As Amazon looks to extend its physical footprint, the Toys R Us' liquidation has presented an ideal opportunity for the e-commerce giant.
Could this be a sliver of hope in bringing our favorite toy retailer back? Not likely. Amazon has no plans to maintain the Toys “R” Us brand, but rather is interested in using the soon-to-be-vacant spaces to showcase its Echo line and place inventory closer shoppers.
The online retailer has been on the search for locations to accommodate Whole Foods grocery aisles and shelf space for its most popular web items like consumer electronics, bestselling books and yoga pants. Since the company began rolling out two-hour delivery service from select Whole Foods stores in the U.S. last month, utilizing vacant Toys R Us locations could set the foundation for grocery delivery expansion.
GOOGLE: A RETAILER'S ALLY
Google recently announced its service designed to help retailers compete with Amazon — of course while relinquishing a percentage of sales along the way.
Formerly known as Google Express, Shopping Actions gives retailers more visibility on the Google Assistant app. Consumers can also shop for products via Google Search with a universal cart across all platforms. "Google is leveraging its power to become an ally for retailers that are feeling the push from Amazon (Target, Walmart and others)," says Bryant Goodall, digital marketing manager at Kibo.
With partners already seeing an average basket increase of 30 percent, retailers are reaping the benefits of a Google environment similar to Amazon's digital ecosystem.
INSTAGRAM SHOPPING GOES GLOBAL
Shoppable posts — which include tags on featured products redirecting users to e-commerce sites —are an invaluable tool for brands taking advantage of mobile commerce. According to Instagram data, 60 percent of users find new products on the platform.
Now, the photo app has introduced shoppable posting to eight countries. The international expansion will help drive global conversions and allow retailers to target a larger percentage of Instagram’s 800 million active users. Since 70 percent of users are more likely to make mobile purchases after seeing products on the app, retailers can now measure ROI and make more data-driven decisions involving social media.
With 2018 being the year of influencer marketing, how will you incorporate Instagram shopping into the mix?
THIS WEEK'S BRIGHT SPOT
Solange Knowles will be honored at the 70th annual Parsons Benefit this year. She will join honorees Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive officer of Gucci, and Jose Neves, founder and ceo of Farfetch.
The Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and visual artist, has used her platform to advocate for representation and justice, while delivering empowering political messages through her music and visuals. Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons School Design, says he was pleased to honor Solange “for her notable contributions to the music and fashion industries."
We're still hoping for a CFDA Fashion Icon of the Year award but for now, Parsons is satisfying.