By Jonathan Charles | Jul 03, 2012 12:27 PM EDT
Augmented Reality apps haven't exploded in popularity - apart from a useful on-the-go translation tool - but that hasn't stopped IBM from adopting the technology. The computer hardware and software creator has released an app for shopping, allowing users to scan products and receive coupons.
Once the app is downloaded on a smartphone or tablet, users register for the service, and create a profile of items from ingredients to food. Scanning items, the app will recognize what fits the profile and provide details.
Rather than having to scan the small print on the box, the app will show information such as ingredients, discounts and even reviews on the product. Social network integration also means that friends' reviews on the scanned product will show.
"You can tell the app that you want a cereal brand that's low in sugar, highly rated by consumers, and on sale at low price. Then you pan a shelf of cereal boxes, and the app reveals which cereal met the criteria," VentureBeat reported.
"In the age of social media, consumer expectations are soaring, and people want information and advice about products they're going to buy. By closing the gap between the online and in-store shopping experience, marketers can appeal to the individual needs of the consumers and keep them coming back," said Sima Nadler, head of retail research at IBM. Consumers can like and dislike products, which stores will see.
Findings also published by IBM and Forrester Research said 58 percent of consumers want product information in-store, 19 percent of customers browse phones while shopping and Gartner Research predicts 1 billion smartphones will be sold by 2014. Together, that suggests shopping and using a smartphone concurrently is the future.
It also means targeted deals are sent because consumers can configure preferences, and improves "customer loyalty through tailored and personalized experiences." The research also revealed 42 percent of customers are likely to return if stores have "mobile promotions." It's similar to voucher service Groupon, which provides targeted offers based on location.
The app will launch on iOS and Android, with a Windows Phone version planned.
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