Kmart launches AR-powered KBot

Retailer debuts AR and AI powered home shopping experience for their latest home decor campaign

Kmart has launched an Australian-developed augmented reality (AR) tool, the KBot, with its latest home decor catalogue.

The KBot uses AR to let customers see how the new home decor products would look in their own environment, while conversational artificial intelligence (AI) gives information about product features and recommends complementary products based on previously viewed products. 

“The immersive AR and AI experience was designed to bring joy and inspiration to our customers’ lives, and with extra help from our AI chatbot personality – KBot assist – we have been able to make shopping easier for customers by sprinkling delight across the customer journey,” said Kmart head of digital, Melissa Wong.

The new tool can be accessed at klabs.com.au on AR-supported Apple or Android devices and operating systems and was developed to meet the increasing customer interest in home improvement brought on by the coronavirus lockdowns. Developed in just three weeks, the Kmart, Oracle and VALIS teams completed the majority of work on the project remotely using online collaboration tools.

Wong said it was about working from a customer centric starting point, which guided its collaboration all the way through to maximise the technology enablers like AR and AI. “This has truly changed the way we engaged our customers,” she said.

Bringing engagement with technology

The AR component of the solution was designed by AR agency, Valis. Its founder and CEO, Luke Cameron, said, while AR is sometimes viewed as a gimmick, this misses the opportunity to engage customers in a different way.

“Product-based AR, when done well and made easily accessible, can strengthen consumer trust, provide a memorable interaction with a brand, and importantly - deliver ROI,” Cameron said.

Valis used AR Quick Look as a frictionless way to let shoppers view 3D products in their environment at the tap of a button, removing the need for an app download. This produced product views with ambient lighting and smooth, accurate tracking combined with a streamlined UX to guide and support users.

The KBot solution integrates with Kmart’s existing Oracle Cloud CX digital marketing technology, enabling customers using KBot to sign-up to stay connected with the latest Kmart news and product announcements. The native voice capability in the Oracle Digital Assistant converts speech to text to offer better accessibility for Kmart customers.  

“Digital assistants, and artificial intelligence more broadly, have reached mainstream adoption and are providing new and exciting brand experiences to customers,” said Oracle A/NZ vice president and regional managing director, Cherie Ryan.

“By integrating next-gen shopping with traditional channels such as email, Kmart is delivering futuristic engagement to customers with its brand while simultaneously driving demand for its product range.” 

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