Lowe's Continues to Lead in Mixed Reality for Retail
We profiled Lowe's in our book for creating a shopper's Holodeck at selected stores, where families planning to remodel kitchens or bathrooms could see what their actual homes would look like in 3D with new fixtures, flooring and counters from the Home Improvement giant.
Selected stores had built 15-square-foot spaces where they could view 3D models of what their improvements would look like it they could walk around in the space as if it were new. The drawback was that you needed to use a Lenovo Phab2 phone featuring Tango technology from Google.
The Phab2 has not exactly been a smash hit as a phone. However, some Lowe's sell it as an immersive 3D measurement tool making its $499 list price. In the book we praised the vision of how retailers could improve shopper experiences, but concluded the Lowe's Holodeck was not quite ready for prime time.
But what we really like is that Lowe's keeps swinging the bat. Now they're experimenting with a VR Space where shoppers can learn how to do such home improvement projects as cementing and installing kitchen floor tiles. They report that early tests show customer retention for the instructions improve by about 35 percent when they use the headsets in the store.
This is an example of two points that we are trying to make:
1. Education is a killer VR App. People will learn all things better through immersive technology in headsets.
2. The future of retail is in Mixed Reality. In-store sales are increasingly about customer experiences and there is no more compelling experience than what can be accomplished with headsets.
We have little doubt that the folks at The Home Depot is watching Lowe's thought leadership with envy. If not, then they should be. So should all other major consumer brands.