How Bang & Olufsen Uses AR Experiences For In-Store Retail
We caught up with Simon Silva, Global Retail Experience Manager at Bang & Olufsen, to talk all things AR.
We look at how AR is becoming the new customer experience tool to close a sale. Read on for an insight into why Bang & Olufsen is headed in the right retail direction.
How did you determine which digital tools would best meet the needs of your in-store customer experience?
(SS): Starting off with a single mantra – people before tech. The technology can be shiny and nice and exciting but we see a lot of cases where we hang onto tech to hang onto people. But we need to start with the people. I reviewed the customer journey map to see where they can offer new solutions to improve the journey. Looking closely at the pain points and start to devise ways we as a business could reduce them.
We discovered that customers want to visualise products before engaging and purchasing. After reviewing different possible technologies we picked AR as the way forward for us.
What are the results you have found so far from leveraging AR in–store?
(SS): Through BETA testing and lots of UX tests on how people felt at the start towards the end of the project. At the start of the project just two store associates generated enough revenue to pay for the tech in the first month. This was through doing home visits, to help customers visualize the products within their living space. Using the AR as a consultative piece for customer.
How did you gain the buy-in from your store associates and wider business to increase digital presence in-store?
(SS): Luckily Bang & Olufsen are a forward-thinking luxury lifestyle brand so we had the backing of the Senior management team. From a store perspective, training is key, we needed clear communications to showcase the importance of these. So we created WhatsApp group on sharing continuous best practice on sales and home experiences employee’s had delivered, employee driven success cases and the training. An easy space to share praise and growth.
What has been the biggest challenge integrating digital-first tools across your store estate?
(SS): Ensuring that partners invest in Apple products, there's not much difficulty here. The main focus was to keep the UI and UX understandable. They are pushing out in the next couple of updates different translations for different markets.
What does your digital roadmap for 2019 look like? What are your plans to futher build on the success you are having with digital?
(SS): For us it's blending the online and offline experiences and how can you best achieve this? We're currently looking at our lessons from AR and putting people before technology to create immersive zone of self discovery – and create a platform for employees to tell a thousand stories. I remember that Burberry said that we were "seeing this change that many people are making stores look like websites" I feel that the next step to this is how do we create this environment for storytelling.
We need to be able to not just copy and paste a story on multi channels but instead optimize the story for each channel, that’s where you get the difference between mediocre and excellence. If the majority of consumers are now digital first, then bricks and mortar retail need to be more hands-on brand experience first, otherwise what is their purpose?
What are you most looking forward to at Future Stores 2019?
(SS): Learning and getting inspiration from other great brands and what they are doing and being able to share the AR application and how it really impacts sales numbers. What I care most about is moving the needle on putting smiles on customer faces and money in the till.