New IBM Augmented Reality App for In-Store Shoppers

IBM research scientists unveil a first-of-a-kind augmented reality mobile shopping app that makes it possible for consumers to pan store shelves and receive personalized product information, recommendations and coupons while they browse shopping aisles.
Upon entering a store, consumers download the app on their smart phone or tablet, register, and create a profile of features that matter to them: product ingredients that could trigger an allergy, biodegradable packaging and so forth.

When they point their device's video camera at merchandise, the app will instantly recognize products and overlay digital details over the images via augmented reality such as ingredients, price, reviews and discounts that apply that day.

Using IBM's augmented reality mobile app shoppers looking for breakfast cereal could specify they want a brand low in sugar, highly rated by consumers and on sale. As a shopper pans the mobile device’s camera across a shelf of cereal boxes, the augmented shopping app reveals which cereals meet the criteria and provides a same-day coupon to entice consumers to make a purchase.
“In the age of social media, consumer expectations are soaring and people want information and advice about the products they're going to buy,” said Sima Nadler, Retail Lead, IBM Research. “By closing the gap between the online and in-store shopping experience, marketers can appeal to the individual needs of consumers and keep them coming back.”
The app is being developed by IBM’s Research lab in Haifa Israel. Retailers will be able to use the app to build in-store traffic by connecting with individual consumers and turning marketing into an opt-in service that is not intrusive.

The app can make it easier for retailers to understand consumer likes and dislikes and offer related products in other aisles, such as bananas or milk, to accompany a cereal purchase. It could also make loyalty points and digital coupons become more convenient for shoppers. 
The video camera on the mobile device will be able to recognize products according to shapes, colors and other features using advanced image processing technologies. The retailer's back-end computer system will deliver information to the mobile device where advanced augmented reality technologies overlay the information on the product images.
Beyond helping consumers, the new app will serve retailers as a platform to interact with customers at the point when purchasing decisions are made. Aside from the ability to suggest up-sell and cross-sell offers in the store itself, retailers will have the opportunity to gain insights that can help optimize floor plans and product arrangements in stores.
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