What if digital retail experiences were immersive and accessible?
By merging their digital and physical offering, stores are able to offer the “physical store experience” by digital means. Many niche and specialised stores today are dependent on people browsing the store and receiving excellent personal customer service in order to survive.
5G and feasibilityDuring the COVID-19 pandemic, many stores had to adapt fast in order to survive. Examples of this are stores offering video-shopping via FaceTime. Employees would guide customers through the store, helping them find what they're looking for without risking contamination in the store. Other stores would upload every single piece of clothing they had available to an instagram story, as a workaround for not having an online store. With the availability, speeds and latency of 5G, current video solutions and future immersive solutions could offer a different and enhanced digital retail experience.
Looking at a physical object in a physical store often leads to different findings compared to looking at a picture of the product online. In this sense, customers would both get a visual idea of what they are buying, but also offering the employees to contribute towards sales or with their expertise in other ways.
ReflectionThis is something that could have been created with 4G and during COVID-19 we have seen examples of it. However, the potential of 5G could make these services better, and support next generation solutions with immersive video technologies like AR, VR or 360 degree video.
For a niche boutique or a specialty store it is important to interact with their customers and explain details about the products they sell. This also limits the store to their physical location, reducing the impact their online retail experience has. Today, online retail experience is tied mostly to user interfaces or email correspondence with stores and employees. Could 5G enable a better digital retail experience? What if online retail was more immersive, or closer to the experience of a physical store?
︎︎︎With high defenition video it would be possible to show off details and important qualities of the products.
What if a store in Bodø could offer the same incredible customer retail experience that locals receive, to digital customers from all over the world?
The questions we ask through this artifact involve the future of retail and physical experiences. Should we strive for digital experiences that feel closer to physical ones? Will younger generations be drawn towards the experience of a physical store, rather than the convenience of an online one? How does our perception of existing services shape the way we are able to think about new ones?