In 2010, Microsoft released Kinect – a controller-free gaming and entertainment experience for the Xbox 360. Your body is the controller – joysticks and buttons are replaced with the users’ movements and gestures. It turns out Kinect has many uses beyond games and entertainment. Razorfish’s Emerging Experiences team created KinectShop to demonstrate the use of the Kinect platform in as a retail or at-home augmented reality shopping experience.
KinectShop allows shoppers to cycle through an assortment of products, in this case purses, and visualize the products as part of their outfit, thereby better informing the purchase decision. The natural interaction offered by the Kinect platform allows the shoppers to quickly develop a 1-to-1 connection with the product through the use of augmented reality. In augmented reality, shelf space is infinite, so while this concept experience is limited to purses it could host entire catalogs of products, such as clothing, hats, sunglasses, shoes, jewelry, makeup and more.
As an in-store experience, the retailer can bring catalog and online inventory into the store without actually having the inventory on hand. Further, it allows a shopper to still try on inventory not available in the store or out of stock, capturing a sale that might otherwise be lost. Ultimately, the shopper can decide that they like the product and add it to their shopping cart or wishlist.
Because the experience is virtual, it presents possibilities to become portable and even transcend beyond the store. With an experience like KinectShop, a shopper can easily scan a QR code or swipe their NFC smartphone to take their experience with them and use wayfinding tools to locate the product in-store. Additionally, shoppers could later retrieve their wishlist at home using the company’s web site, tablet, mobile experience or even an Xbox or PC version of the experience in their living room.
Shopping is inherently a social activity and the experience could not only support multiple users simultaneously but it also has the natural ability to leverage social tools. For instance, pictures taken with the virtual products can be shared through Facebook and Twitter to help solicit feedback from friends.
We plan on leveraging the Kinect platform to enhancing the experience further in future versions. For example, user recognition could help record and save preferences intuitively to your profile. Microphones can be used to employ voice commands – for example, saying “I love it” automatically adds the item to the wishlist. The experience will one day even offer recommendations of coordinating items based on the colors in the clothes that shoppers are wearing.
As you can see devices like Kinect clearly have uses beyond the gaming console. We are just scratching the surface on the types of experiences this technology will enable in the future.