More than just a face
Karl Turley, CMO at Fuel3D
The face of retail is changing. Digital innovation is shaping the future, and rewriting the rulebook for traditional high street retailers who are being forced to reinvent themselves in a digital age. Customer experience has become the new battleground and the key to unlocking growth. Innovative retailers are exploring how they can connect better with customers at every touch point and make emerging technologies part of the physical experience in store.
Stores need to be more than just a place to transact. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and 3D innovation are set to enable a new-wave of customer experience and personalisation. Some retailers are already experimenting with interactive technologies to create a more immersive in store experience, particularly in fashion, with virtual fitting rooms and interactive mirrors.
When we buy a product or choose a brand, we want it to fit our lifestyle, to tell a story or be truly personal and unique. Retailers that enable us to build and customise products to the very last detail – think trainers, watches, wallets, handbags and eyewear – are set to prosper now and in the years to come.
Innovative technology not only has the power to enhance our shopping experience and enable product customisation, but can totally disrupt existing business models and services, online and offline. Take eyewear for example, the $100bn industry which is ripe to be shaken up by 3D innovation, reinventing fit, performance and customer experience, and totally transforming how we buy glasses.
Imagine being able to walk into a store, get your face 3D scanned and measured to a T and get a perfectly fitting pair of glasses or sunglasses, perhaps even 3D printed while you wait, or delivered to your door. Glasses that fit perfectly first time, with no need for time consuming adjustments to stop them slipping off your face or pinching your nose.
Faced with so much choice these days, many people don’t know where to begin when selecting frames. Imagine if the whole process could be made a whole lot easier with recommendations based on your face shape and individual style preferences perfectly matched to fit you against a 3D scan of your face. A curated collection, just for you, rather than eyewear that treats every face as the same! And what if you could hot wire that scan to a friend or loved one? We all yearn for a second opinion from people we trust and let’s face it, choosing the wrong glasses can be an expensive mistake! Now imagine being able to do all of this from the comfort of your armchair or 3D printing your own glasses or sunglasses at home. This is the future for eyewear, and it’s coming soon.
Over the next five years, there is going to be a major innovation driven retail transformation and a seismic shift in what we buy and how we buy it. The retailers that find success will be the ones that innovate and can break the mould of how things have been done in the past to provide a better customer experience. Those who see the consumer as an individual – more than just a face – and can harness truly personal data to make shopping much simpler and more enjoyable through personalised products and experiences, will win through.
On Thursday 27 September, I’ll be joining Just Eat and Visa at ad:tech London, to share insight into how Fuel3D is reinventing how we buy eyewear through our perfectly measured 3D frame fitting solution. “Disrupting with innovation – three disruptor brands you can learn from” is chaired by Geometry Global and takes place at 3pm. ad:tech London is being held at Olympia London and is the UK’s global gathering of marketing, advertising and tech innovators.