Augmented Reality Is Here to Stay  

The past year served as a major turning point for mainstream augmented reality adoption, with Apple launching ARKit and Google following suit, unveiling ARCore at the recent Mobile World Congress. With worldwide spending on AR and virtual reality (VR) expected to reach $17.8 billion in 2018, more innovation and opportunity are anticipated in this space.

“The rapid, mainstream growth of augmented reality presents a prime opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves from the competition,” said Pehr Luedtke, Senior Vice President, Marketing and International, Valassis Digital. “However, before companies dive head-first into this market, it’s important for them to identify how the technology can be applied in smart, relevant ways. Ultimately, AR should serve as another opportunity to enhance the customer experience in a unique way.”

He said brands should keep the following in mind when considering the deployment of AR technologies and strategies:

  • The consumer research and planning phase is crucial: According to Valassis research, over 90 percent of consumers create a list before visiting a store, showing the prominence of pre-shopping research and planning. While product information was previously gathered through online reviews and word-of-mouth, AR is taking the research phase one step further, allowing individuals to truly visualize an item before making a purchase decision. For example, from the convenience of their phone, a consumer can see an image of a furniture item in their home, helping determine whether it fits in their respective space so they can make an informed buying decision. AR is providing an innovative “try before you buy” shopping model.

  • AR doesn’t stand on its own: While AR is a newer touchpoint for consumers, it should be incorporated into a broader, integrated marketing strategy. It may fit in and serve a purpose, however AR should be used in combination with other engagement strategies – including social media, email and direct mail.

  • Print and digital are an AR match made in heaven: To date, much of the AR focus has been placed on digital, although print plays a critical role in connecting brands and consumers – and AR technology further elevates that experience. More and more marketers are placing codes and images on print materials, which readers can scan with their mobile devices. For example, retailers can implement AR functionalities that allow consumers to scan an item, such as a furniture piece, in a magazine or direct mail print ad and view a 3D visual of the item. Through this AR data feed, consumers can also see relevant details including price, color/texture options, purchase locations and more. The inclusion of AR delivers an immersive and engaging shopping experience – all that’s needed is a print image and mobile device.

Luedtke said it’s important for brands to strike a balance between new innovations such as AR and tried-and-true tactics. This will ensure they’re effectively meeting their target audience when and where it matters most.

Best Buy to Install Electronic Shelf Labels
Best Buy will deploy Pricer’s Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL) and digital shelf-edge solutions in more than 150 stores. The estimated value of the new order is approximately SEK 260 million and will be included in Pricer’s order intake for the second quarter 2018. Deliveries are scheduled to begin during the third quarter of 2018.

Pricer, founded in 1991 in Uppsala, Sweden, provides in-store shelf-edge digital solutions that aim to enhance both store performance and the shopping experience.

Oregon Ice Cream Scoops Up TPM Solution
Oregon Ice Cream has selected AFS Technologies, a leading global provider of software solutions purpose-built for consumer goods companies, for its Trade Promotion Management solution.

The dessert maker decided to invest in a comprehensive TPM solution for several reasons:
Gain better control of their trade spend process
Improve forecast accuracy
Analyze “all-in trade spend” for net unit cost
Provide the ability to do true customer planning
Have visibility to those plans as they execute.

AFS Trade Promotion Management Retail is a full closed-loop system that helps you plan, deploy, execute, settle and analyze your trade spend with a robust set of intuitive, easy-to-use capabilities. This solution provides customer planning and visibility across sales, finance, accounting, supply chain, and marketing groups, providing insight for event analysis and into how the actual plan results are performing against the S&OP.

Online Grocery Sales to Grow 10 Times Faster than In-Store

Online grocery sales are projected to reach more than 8 percent of the total grocery sales in the U.S. by the end of 2022, according to the newest Brick Meets Click online grocery forecast.
Given that the online share of industry sales was under 5 percent at the end of 2017, the forecast projects a 5-year compound annual growth rate of 13 percent as compared to 1.3 percent for sales originating in-store (excluding the effects of inflation).

“This illustrates the impact that online is having on how grocery retailing is conducted,” says Brick Meets Click partner David Bishop. “Our forecast numbers show steady growth, and this supports the case for two important points. First, online grocery is already important and will become even more important in the near term, and second, the store will continue to be the place where grocers make most of their sales – but the growth of e-commerce puts even greater pressure on retailers to find ways to make this part of the business more profitable.”

Established in 1938, Oregon Ice Cream is one of the longest-standing ice cream makers in the western United States. The company is also the home of retail brands Julie’s Organic and Alden’s Organic, the nation’s leading organic frozen dessert brands.

Digital Food and Beverage Show Set for Chicago in July

The upcoming Digital Food and Beverage conference in Chicago will bring together 200+ digital marketing and ecommerce innovators from the industry’s most disruptive food delivery services, retailers, and brands to exchange key strategies and secret-sauces to becoming innovators.

The conference will take place July 16-17 at the Westin Chicago River North.

Attendees will hear presentations by executives from Peapod, Coca-Cola, Grubhub, Walmart, Albertsons, FreshDirect, Monster, and more.