Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The new era of smartphone-driven digital consumerism

By Garry Williams, Business Director,  UNIT9

Digital consumerism is at an all time high. And that’s not only being driven by the pandemic, but also by the innovative ways brands are using technology to engage with their audiences.

Digital retail is now following the route that traditional ‘real life’ retail spaces were heading in by moving towards more of an experience-based offering. If you want proof, look no further than the recent Complexland (the shoppable virtual event that attracted such brands as Adidas and Gucci) or Balenciaga’s incredible web-based collection launch.

But these examples, though innovative, are basically just websites. And yet when such digital experience is offered through a mobile device, it can offer more than just a cool website. How? By using the power of AR (Augmented Reality) to bring consumers even closer to a brand’s product.

Shoppable AR is certainly not a new idea. Snapchat Lenses already allow consumers to try on products such as sneakers. And Facebook ads displayed in-feed can take consumers to a shoppable AR filter where they can try on a product, or even place it into a real world setting.

These functional AR applications have been around for a while now and they work best on a mobile device. But the opportunity to really shine and engage with a customer is by combining this functionality with a digital experiential offering, like that of the aforementioned Complexland.

AR functionality and digital experience can be elevated even further by mobile Lidar and its ability to scan and map out a surrounding space. When Lidar is thrown into the mix, digital consumerism through a mobile device can offer brands an opportunity to engage with their consumers in a deeper, more personalised way than perhaps even a IRL store can.

Imagine turning your own house into your own personalised department store, with each room having different products hanging from walls that allow interactions such as trying items on before purchase.

Or if not your own house, how about ‘walking’ through a personalised brand-designed space overlaid in AR across the real world. What about an AI brand avatar who is your personal shopper, showing you around and giving you detail about each product, or suggesting alternatives based on purchase history and other personal behaviour data.

All this is technically already possible. So it won’t be long before you can have your own personal Nike store in your living room. Maybe a L’Oreal make-up counter in your bathroom. Or even a car showroom in your garage. And all at your fingertips thanks to your mobile device and its ability to let you try and then buy at the touch of a button.