The future of shopping in an immersive, mixed-reality era.

Personalized, diagnostic, wearable and embedded in the human—immersive retail is increasingly usurping traditional shops and screens. This major transformation in channels, and in the ways consumers interact with the internet and commerce, is explored in The Innovation Group’s new study “Transcendent Retail”—released as part of a partnership with global retail bible Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), the leading authority on fashion, beauty and retail.

This marks the second year The Innovation Group has partnered with WWD. Last year’s “Frontier(less) Retail” report looked at digital commerce, globalization, and the future store experience. As well as updating last year’s research, the new report explores how brands are becoming sentient and how commerce can happen anywhere, with no need for cash registers, staff or postal addresses.

“Retail is facing unprecedented challenges at the moment, but is also discovering exhilarating new opportunities thanks to advances in technology,” says Miles Socha, editor-in-chief of WWD. “Thanks to augmented reality, virtual reality and developments in artificial intelligence, the whole experience of retail will be transformed in the coming years. At WWD, we believe in keeping our readers at the forefront of consumer change and retail innovation. We were pleased to partner with J. Walter Thompson on this insightful study.”

Project Jacquard smart denim jacket by Google x Levi's.
Project Jacquard smart jacket by Google x Levi's.

AR interactive mirrors at Charlotte Tillsbury. Holition, London
AR mirrors at Charlotte Tillsbury.
Amazon's Echo Look Voice Assistant
Amazon's Echo Look.

Transcendent Retail” examines the impact of the latest technologies and the new wave of “brand rock stars” pushing boundaries to better connect brands to consumers, and consumers to purchase. It explores the expanding contents of their toolbox, including augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, holograms and soundscapes.

Experience culture has come so far that it’s increasingly becoming the key driver in consumer spending, making the store experience more important than ever. “Transcendent Retail” also examines new trends in experience and introduces some of the most compelling and innovative case studies in this area from the past year.

Apple HomePod Smart Speaker
Apple Home Pod.

Gentle Monster, The Artisan Flagship, Shanghai
Gentle Monster, Shanghai
VR World, photo by Luis Nieto Dickens
VR World. Photo provided courtesy of VR Worldwide, Inc. Photo by Luis Nieto

To understand what all this will mean for consumers—what they want from new technologies, how they will use them, what their future path to purchase will be, and which touchpoints they will value and engage with most—The Innovation Group commissioned an original survey of 1,000 adults in the United States and 1,000 adults in China. This was conducted by SONAR™, J. Walter Thompson’s proprietary research unit. Key findings include:

  • 86% of US 18-34-year-old consumers have used chatbots
  • 57% of US 18-34-year-old consumers have connected devices in their home. Among those who don’t yet own one, 55% are interested
  • 78% of US 18-34-year-old consumers are interested in touch-operated connected home objects for shopping
  • 81% of US 18-34-year-old consumers go to Amazon first when shopping online—and these are still early days for Amazon’s Whole Foods grocery play
  • 88% of US 18-34-year-old consumers prefer shopping with Amazon above other retailers generally
  • 71% of US of US 18-34-year-old consumers find it irritating to enter their address details when making a purchase online—84% like it when a device remembers them
  • 80% of US 18-34-year-old consumers believe shipping should be free

“Transcendent Retail” also includes original survey data, trends, and innovation case studies for three key markets in Asia—China, Singapore and Japan—and looks at the state of retail, new behaviors and the regional distinctions shaping behavior.

Download the full report here.