Michael Lehnert, Commercial Director, SensapeMichael Lehnert, Commercial Director
Augmented reality (AR) is becoming more commonplace by the day. But if you think AR is only limited to TikTok and Snapchat filters and games like Pokemon GO, you couldn’t be more wrong. Of late, AR has proliferated in the retail sector at an unprecedented pace. From Ikea’s try-before-you-buy AR app that lets users preview furniture at home to Gucci’s implementation that allows one to try on sneakers virtually, AR has opened the gateway to a new reality in the retail industry.

But, all things considered, creating an AR experience in shopping malls and retail stores is signifi more complicated than crafting a similar experience on the mobile screen due to diff in the underlying technology. And this is precisely the problem that Sensape—a leading European technology company specialising in AR—is helping businesses and brands address. “We have been working with AR technology at the point of sale for a long time, and this puts us in a unique position to unleash its power in the modern retail sector,” says Michael Lehnert, commercial director of Sensape. Notably, Sensape is currently in partnership with leading brands like Pernod Ricard, Rivella, Oreo, FC Bayern Munich, and Ritter Sport to democratise and unlock the full potential of AR in the retail industry.

Sensape’s mission, at its core, is to change how several establishments and brands still rely on traditional window advertising, even though there are many other eff ways to attract customers. And to help such fi access eff alternatives, Sensape’s interactive sales solutions digitalise and generate multidimensional sales processes with the help of AI and AR. In this regard, Sensape has built a plethora of solutions like digital product samplers, AR-enabled photoboxes, promoters, and more. “The intelligent persona recognition capabilities of these solutions and the related personalised communication of information emotionalise your brand in a special way and are suitable for cross-media lead generation,” states Lehnert.
But Sensape does not stop at just off AI-powered storefront solutions. The company has also contributed to the development of interactive screens as well as automatic mask recognition and a virtual queue in times of pandemic along with AR games, virtual try-on systems, and interactive customer promoters for a varied clientele. For instance, Sensape has recently partnered with FC Bayern Munich to create a never-before-seen in-store experience for the football club’s loyal fans. Sensape has set up a photo solution for Bayern Munich that triggers when a fan consciously stops and looks at the screen via gesture control and takes their VR photographs with the club’s popular players.

Crafting a Brand New Future for Retail Marketing

At this juncture, Lehnert mentions that the cohort of AI and AR can off boundless new opportunities to the retail sector. “The combined use of AI and AR can enable businesses to personalise their customer engagement,” he highlights. “A simple example of that would be analysing and identifying a group of people in a shopping mall as a family based on a number of external factors and t hen d elivering t ailored o ff Lehnert adds. Interestingly, with an innovative facial recognition algorithm, Sensape’s retail solutions can already help detect a range of external characteristics—such as age, gender, and emotion—and assign them to a persona, adapting the AR experience accordingly. But that’s not all! “Our AI can not only recognise external features of a person but also react to products held in hand and recognise gestures like head, hand, or arm movement,” mentions Lehnert. Through this, Sensape is now making the whole shopping experience more engaging and personalised for customers. It creates a unique experience for the customer and an image boost for the brand. “Because, the more individually people feel addressed, the stronger the experience and the higher the likelihood of brand engagement,” underscores the commercial director.

We have been working withAR technology at the point of sale for a long time, and this puts us in a unique position to unleash its power in the modern retail sector

Using AR for Target Group Research

Another critical area that Sensape is currently catalysing is target group research. Sensape has developed an a rtifi i ntelligence t ool t hat u ses the same external feature detection algorithm and can thus recognise target groups via a camera to display suitable content. “We have fed so much consumer data and images over the last few months that it can now match the person in front of it with customer persona in real-time,” mentions Lehnert. The AI-based tool uses a camera to collect data on the duration certain consumers spend in a place and the course of their emotions during that period. This gives a better understanding of the target group, such as, when do they come to the POS? How do they interact with the content? What is their mood?

What’s m ore? R unning a n A /B t est a lso becomes possible directly at the POS without creating a separate test environment. The result is unbiased data and essential insights for the campaign, which can later drive more targeted outdoor or social media advertising. Recently, the beverage manufacturer Pernod Ricard used Sensape’s technology at the POS in a supermarket to provide targeted purchase incentives for fi diff target groups. They used consumer detection technology to collect data about diff target groups and their interactions with Pernod Ricard’s vending machines. The client was soon able to determine which of their target groups printed out coupons for certain drinks.

Moving ahead with such innovative AR-based marketing and branding solutions, Sensape is planning to enhance its capabilities even more. At the same time, the company is also looking to grow its global footprint outside Europe, particularly in Latin America and the U.S. “Coming months will see us assuming a leadership position in all these markets,” concludes Lehnert.