Whether we are aware of it or not, we are constantly immersed in the latest technology has to offer. Our iPhones update themselves, there is a new app everyday, and a new tech trend that changes the way we take in information, changing our lives forever. Consumers are starting to get accustomed to being wowed and now look forward to a brand making them feel as if they have a ‘first look’ into discovering the newest debut a brand has to offer. Enter the world of virtual reality and augmented reality. This past week the Lionesque Group attended the National Retail Foundation’s Annual ‘Big Show’ which features the latest in retail trends and the future of the consumer experience. There were many exciting developments in how companies can better serve their customers and market their brand in a way that creates new and exciting levels of consumer engagement while giving marketers the ability to strategize refreshing and creative immersive marketing strategies. Augmented Reality Imagine you built your dream pop-up store in order to create an environment in the physical space that will enhance your online business. Your pop-up store is a showroom in a sense allowing your customer to get a hands on experience especially since the luxe materials you use to make your lounge chairs have not been translating online. Since your product is not only too large to carry out of the store but your new customs color feature adds multiple skus to your product offering, you are looking for a unique way to intrigue your customer beyond a sample swatch they can take home. With augmented reality, a brand can convert that intrigued shopper to a customer confidently with the use of their mobile or ipad. A customer would be able to go to the brand's website, create their custom chair and watch as it is placed in their living room as if they were looking at it through their camera. Augmented reality superimposes computer-generated images onto the physical world via a device screen. A company who displayed at NRF leading the way in this market is Augment. They are enabling consumers to experience product in the comfort of their current environment without having to buy it first creating a new form of marketing. Augmented reality can also work in an informational way by creating content and copy within the visuals displayed. Imagine a fashion brand wants to share a video of their new collection but they only have budget for a magazine ad. With the use of an app, customers will be able to see the video come to life as soon as they place their phone or tablet over the magazine ad. Developers create a custom code that could be placed anywhere within an existing graphic and marketers now can come up with new and innovative ways to place this code. Brands have the ability to make anything come to life informing their customer in a new and engaging way. Ads Reality is one of the leaders in using VR & AR to bring brand stories to the customer experience and showcased their different work at NRF. They demonstrated just some of the things they are able to do to bring immersive marketing to life. Below is a small example of their business card including work they created for a video game company. Crafting the experience is key to AR because it gives the brand the opportunity to market their product or service in a way that the customer will never forget. Virtual Reality A store with unlimited aisles is now possible and continues to evolve. One where square footage is no longer a limiting factor and brands can teach customers a wealth of product information in real time based on their interests. The future of retail is here and one company that is testing how customers will be able to immerse themselves in a brand's virtual store and shop is ShelfZone VR by Invrsion who displayed at NRF. A brand will be able to virtually merchandise and create their dream store while their customers shop it from anywhere in the world. With virtual shopping, a brand can advertise in real time all while collecting data as to what their customers gravitate towards. What does the future of retail hold for brands and the way they sell and inform customers? Emotions will be easier to understand and easier to market to. Imagine full storefront facades that come to life with just the hover of your device, being able to change content for your customers in real time. The marketing opportunities and creativity that these two realities add to the future of retail are endless and we couldn't be more excited for it.