Issue No.06 — Immersive Digital

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June 2021

Spotlight Issue No.6
Immersive Digital

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The commercial return of innovation is never greater than during a crisis.

And as our actual realities took a turn for the surreal when the pandemic started, virtual and augmented technologies boomed.

Consumers trapped in their home embraced newer technologies like never before.

Even pre-pandemic, Deloitte digital research found there was growing interest among shoppers with 71% stating they would shop more often as a result of AR apps.

By 2025, it is estimated that the augmented reality market in retail, commerce and marketing will surpass $12 billion, with 75% of global smartphone users frequently using this technology.

So how are brands responding in the rush to elevate digital experiences in line with new consumer expectations and behaviours?


Burberry pocket bag AR – courtesy of Burberry


Immersive technology can help brands deliver next-level functionality as well as reinforce or revitalise the brand message.

Focusing on function, Google’s latest update to Maps helps users navigate indoors with AR markers and arrows while consumers in Amazon’s first ever hair salon can ‘point & learn’ as well as try different hair shades before committing to a new look.

Hard-hit hospitality leans more towards emotive digital experiences. During lockdown, our favourite example used sound rather than reality technology to re-create that neighbourhood bar feeling.

Now tempting guests back to its iconic Parlour, London’s Sketch is bringing David Shrigley’s art to life through AR enabled theatre. Retail is using similar tactics, with Burberry creating ‘The World of Olympia’ at Harrods for the launch of their latest handbag.

Whether playful or practical, immersive digital currently has the power to nudge consumers back into the real world.


Sketch x HATO app – courtesy of Sketch


Brands face a major challenge in grasping how to craft immersive experiences. In the retail sector, while experiential elements are touted as the future, progress has been sluggish compared to the burgeoning consumer interest.

According to global innovation evangelist Brian Solis, an iterative design approach is holding back retailers, with a more radical re-think required to reverse declining footfall.

Gucci, recognised as the hottest brand in Q1 2021 by Lyst, continues to excite consumers across generations by seamlessly blending immersive physical and digital realms.

As part of its centennial celebrations, Gucci reimagined a lavish exhibition at Gucci Garden in Florence within Roblox's virtual 3D environment.

Viewing experience design holistically and as a ‘test and learn’ investment rather than a fleeting expense is necessary for businesses seeking to capitalise on emerging consumer trends.


‘In bloom’ campaign – courtesy of Gucci