In the words of KPMG, the world is navigating a great digital transformation race. New data from IBM’s U.S. Retail Index forecasts that the pandemic has shifted traffic away from physical to online stores by roughly five years. Given these trends, one of the biggest challenges that retailers face is the ability to keep up with this pace of change.
For Pandora, the world’s top jewelry retailer, this challenge provided a powerful window for digital acceleration and business transformation.
While most jewelry retailers were scrambling to salvage their businesses following the fall-out from Q2 and Q3 COVID-19 retail lockdowns, Pandora’s digital team was already testing a series of technical features to help bolster engagement and revenue across their digital channels. By Sept 2020, the team was able to activate multiple digital solutions. Here’s a look into what they built:
The Virtual Try-On feature was fast & incredibly uncomplicated in its implementation across 10+ Pandora websites around the world.
Partnering with Tangiblee, an eCommerce SaaS company focused on digital product experiences, Pandora rolled out an augmented reality capability (Virtual Try-On) which does not require customers to download an app or use any additional technical equipment.
Pandora shoppers can ‘try-on’ a piece of jewelry (with scaled accuracy) by tapping the TRY IT ON button on each product page while browsing with their mobile device.
Mobile and desktop experiences include:
“We had to temporarily close most of our stores during the year, but we were able to recoup a large part of the lost sales through our online stores,” explained Peter A. Ruzicka, Chairman of the Board and Alexander Lacik, President and CEO in Pandora’s 2020 Earnings Report.
“Online sales increased 103% in 2020 compared to 2019 to make up 29% of revenue. In Q2, online sales surpassed physical retail for the first time ever, making up 52% of revenue in the quarter.”
Pandora also published a survey in its earnings report and found that 56% of consumers say that they will continue to buy online and pick up products in-store, after the pandemic — the digital experience investments made during the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to drive value for Pandora down the road.
Pandora is considering incorporating these Virtual Try-On capabilities across its brick and mortar stores in the Spring/Summer of 2021.
Tangiblee extracts existing product imagery & details from the product page and re-packages the content into an interactive on-page experience - at scale. The UX is custom-built for every retailer and supplies brand-curated content to every product UX.
Unlike other solutions, Tangiblee does not require 3D imagery or CAD files. That means, as a brand, you can build a fully operational AR experience without needing to revamp or enhance your existing library of product photography.
Tangiblee was able to create the entire experience without costly labor-intensive production processes or any complicated technical requirements. In addition, Tangiblee does not require any new product photos as the platform extracts the existing product imagery & data directly from a retailer’s product page.
Compatible with any retail platform – app or web-based - Tangiblee serves product catalog sizes of one hundred SKUs to hundreds of thousands of SKUs and requires zero technical upkeep or maintenance.
Pandora’s Virtual Try-On is part of a bigger picture strategy called “The Digital Hub,” which is an innovation-first digital team. The Digital Hub was a major factor in Pandora’s ability to retain relative financial stability in the face of one of the volatile retail years in modern history. Additional digital experiences include a virtual sales assistant and digital gifting.
Pandora hasn’t slowed down the development of digital capabilities and as a result, may come out of the COVID-19 pandemic in a better position than before.
“In 2021, Pandora expects to reach an important milestone: returning to top-line growth after three years of decline,” explains Pandora’s earnings report.
“In 2021, Pandora will accelerate the digital journey, in particular by building more capability in data science and engineering and by further leveraging data and advanced analytics to drive growth. Our continued focus on creating great digital experiences for our customers will move Pandora to a digital leadership position in the industry.”