Dixon Carphone has adopted an online-first approach to its omni-channel strategy which is marked by the launch of the Point & Place shopping feature to its website. It has used augmented reality as the bridge for linking its online and offline modes of retailing.

See: Digital Trends Quarterly – UK – December 2018, Digital Trends Quarterly - UK - July 2019 and Electrical Goods Retailing - UK - February 2019.

What we've seen

  • Carphone Dixons has integrated an augmented-reality (AR) experience into its Curry's PC World website.

  • The AR experience is available via the Point & Place AR shopping feature making c.700 popular products accessible for customers to try before they buy.

  • Dixons Carphone worked with Eyekandy and Fixmedia to launch the AR technology.

  • The AR shopping feature works by using the sensors in smartphones and tablets so a website visitor can interact with a 3D model of a product and place it, virtually, in their home.

Dixons Carphone launches AR experience

For those customers who have struggled to visualise how a new food processor will sit on their worktop or have cursed themselves for buying a TV that is too big for their lounge wall, help is at hand, quite literally. With Dixons Carphone's Augmented-Reality (AR) shopping experience customers can use their mobile devices to place virtual 3D models of products from the website, into their homes.

The AR experience was previously only available on the retailers separate "Point and Place" app but has now been rolled out to its main e-commerce site. However, website visitors wanting to view product in AR will still have to download the Point & Place app. Via the app, customers will be able to view an item in AR by pointing the camera from their smartphone around the house to place the item in the desired space. This way customers can check for dimensions, style and how it fits into the space before buying. 

The technology is developed by Eyekandy Ltd, the self-described global leader in the innovation and deployment of AR experiences for commerce. The feature has been integrated with PC Curry's World website and over 700 items can be viewed in AR giving customers an immersive, real time experience.

Dixons Carphone joins a string of brands across the entire retail spectrum who are experimenting and incorporating augmented-reality into the shopping experience. Beauty retailers like Sephora and L'Oréal give customers a chance to try on virtual makeup looks in store. While footwear brand Dr Martens recently released its new AR based feature with Lazy Oaf which lets customers view the new range in full 360 by having them superimposed into any surrounding for the customer to explore in.

Figure 1: Dixons Carphone Augmented-Reality website feature, 2019
[graphic: image 1]
Source: Mintel

Augmented reality-changing the shopping journey

Dixons's Point & Place AR shopping feature is very much in line with the retail-wide shift of brands looking to better integrate their online and offline offerings. AR can be the bridge to do just that, it will open up the opportunity for people to experience things in real time, creating immersive and interactive experiences without even having to leave the house. There is an increasing interest in using AR and VR (Virtual-reality) technologies to guide choices and visualise purchases such as make-up looks and clothing outfits in real-time. In fact, Mintel’s Digital Trends Quarterly – UK, December 2018report, found that 38% of consumers were interested in using their smartphone or tablet to project digital images of potential purchases into rooms in the home.

This is made even more possible with the rise of, and now widespread use, using mobile devices to shop online. Mintel report Digital Trends Quarterly – UK, July 2019 found that smartphone ownership was 84% in April 2019 and now 55% of all adults are now using their smartphones for online shopping (Digital Trends Quarterly – UK, July 2019). The launch of Point & Place is a good move by Dixons Carphone to position itself in an online-first market where, in 2018, 72% of electrical buyers purchased goods online compared to the 47% who bought electrical appliances in-store (Electrical Goods Retailing – UK, February 2019).

Point & Place gives consumers a new way to explore Currys offering and, even better, it gives them the convenience to do it from their own home. Mobile commerce is transforming retailing and digital efforts are becoming more focused in this direction as retailers realise consumers shop more and more on the go and want purchasing opportunities at a swipe of a finger. Retailers who make strategic moves towards m-commerce with the help of augmented reality technologies will be at an advantage to those who have not adopted an online-first attitude towards retailing.

Integrating augmented reality technology directly into hundreds of products on PC Curry’s website makes shopping with Dixons Carphone online and in store even easier and more immersive for customers. Dixons Carphone is already reaping the benefits of its AR app with a reported sales uplift of up to 30% in some product categories. 

Figure 2: Future interest in using smartphone for AR-based activities, September 2018
Base: 1,803 internet users aged 16+ who personally use smartphones
[graphic: image 2]
Source: Lightspeed/Mintel

Try before you buy made easier with AR

Dixons Point & Place app enables customers to try before they buy products online and is a vital aspect in the shopper’s journey, especially for the modern digital consumer. Moreover it enables customers to find the best product for them in a convenient and immersive way. This way Dixon’s Carphone has empowered shoppers by providing them with options that allows them to choose between offline and online modes of purchasing, ultimately giving them the optimal omni-channel experience. Stuart Ramage, e-commerce director at Dixons Carphone, said: “We want to help our customers choose the right products for them, whether through demos in stores, expert advice from our colleagues or via our website. Being able to visualise those items in your own home before you make a purchase is an incredibly exciting next step in our customers’ shopping experience.”

Dixon’s have leveraged AR technology and incorporated into key touchpoints of the customer journey. It enables customers to make more informed decisions and empowers them to be able to make purchasing decisions knowing that they have themselves been able to explore products that best suit them in an environment chosen by them. As such the rising use of AR in retail has helped shape the expectations from customers in today’s retail market. Moving forward consumers will come to expect simplified and shorter shopping journeys where AR technologies are having a vital impact as it helps customers explore products and can have a determining role in purchasing decisions by guiding choices for the customer. Indeed Mintel trend Guiding Choice highlights that AR technology like Point & Place will help shoppers to make more informed choices when shopping online, because it will give an enhanced vision of a product in real-time of how it can be used and looks in a room.

We expect augmented-reality to take a leading role in shaping the electrical market which is now an online-first market and will continue to grow as long as consumers consider convenience as one of their priorities. Brands will increasingly use such technology to help consumers make important decisions, particularly on high-ticket items where seeing products ahead of buying is still key in the purchasing journey.  

Figure 3: Explore more than 700 products in AR from PC Curry's website, 2019
[graphic: image 3]
Source: Mintel

What it means

  • The integration of Point & Place AR shopping feature onto PC Curry’s website is the latest move by Dixons Carphone in boosting its omni-channel experience. The AR feature has empowered shoppers to explore and experiment with products from the comfort of their home.

  • Dixon’s Carphone has adopted an online-first approach which is marked by the Point & Place launch on its website. It has used augmented reality as the bridge for linking its online and offline modes of retailing. Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies will become more central into retailer’s omni-channel strategies as a way to add value to the psychical store experience and to enhance the online experience for customers.

  • Dixon’s should consider making the online experience even more seamless by launching the shopping feature exclusively within its web browser. At the moment customers wanting to use the Point & Place shopping feature on the website still need to download the app.

  • Web AR, augmented-reality technologies that do not require the installation of an app, is the next step for retailers to consider. The app market is highly competitive and consumers who are becoming more reliant on their smartphones for shopping will look for better ways to save space and time finding, downloading and navigating between apps on their devices. Indeed Google has already taken steps toward this with its Immersive Web will make augmented realities available on any device that supports them simply through their web browser.

Back to top