Long in the works, the so-called ‘5G revolution’ is finally set to gain traction this year. Over the coming months, we’ll see innovative brands utilise the new network capabilities to create enhanced customer experiences.

Mobile browsing will become quicker, smoother and more reliable thanks to 5G. Meanwhile, its huge bandwidth and speed will help to connect billions of devices and sensors and stream data-hungry technologies such as AI and face recognition, in real time and at scale.

It could be game changing for retail marketing, writes Gavin Mee, Adobe’s VP of Northern Europe in an Essential Retail article. Here’s what we can expect:

Mobile opportunity to skyrocket

Mobile has cemented itself as shoppers’ favourite digital platform for browsing, overtaking desktop as the main revenue source in April last year.

But the ability to browse and buy any place, any time, has created a challenge for brands. Shoppers now have more choice than ever before, and their desire for a bargain means their loyalty with retailers they know and trust has started to wane. Could 5G hold the solution?

In terms of customer experience (CX), 5G can offer so much more than smooth mobile browsing and content streaming. Retailers are able to reimagine the shopping experience, merging physical and digital worlds in creative ways, providing entirely new ways for shoppers to engage with brands and their products.

Augmenting retail realities

5G is the first network capable of streaming augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) experiences to mobile devices in real time. This will allow brands to grab the attention of shoppers who love using their mobile on-the-go.

We’ve already seen AR in practice from some brands, used to overlay products on a person (like glasses or trainers) or a space (like furniture in a person’s home). These technologies will soon become commonplace – so says Gartner, 100 million shoppers could be shopping with the help of AR in-store and online by the end of this year.

The high street makes a comeback

5G will transform physical stores, inspiring consumers to return to the high street. Brands will be able to offer tailored experiences to each person who walks through their doors – digital ad displays will stream targeted ads to shoppers while browsing, for instance, while kiosks will connect people via video call to product experts in ‘call centres’ who can provide virtual, face-to-face assistance.

‘Magic mirrors’ in changing rooms that recognise an item of clothing a shopper is trying on – either through AI or sensors that detect RFIDs – can show product details such as materials, price and care instructions, or make suggestions for matching accessories. In-built touch screens in the mirrors will allow people to request items to be delivered to them, rather than them having to leave the changing room.

5G networks provide the ‘connective tissue’ that supports the vast array of sensor devices required to receive and transmit huge amounts of data that monitor a store, linking it with the retailer’s wider supply and logistics ecosystem. Sensors built into shelves could notify staff when products need replenishing or trigger stock orders from the central warehouse. All this will help to avoid scenarios that cause retailers to miss out on sales or push consumers to shop online instead.

Real-time omnichannel strategies

Data from Adobe show that 73% of consumers use multiple channels before deciding to buy, so it’s little surprise retailers with a true omnichannel presence enjoy an average 13% higher spend.

5G will empower retailers to better utilise the data they have and offer ways to gather data from traditionally ‘non-digital’ platforms, like bricks-and-mortar stores. These types of insights will help retailers understand consumers on a deeper level, designing strategies that people will love.

Retailers that harness the power of 5G this year will be rewarded with great brand loyalty from devoted, repeat customers. If you feel like you need some help harnessing technology to boost shopper experiences, get in touch with Delta Group today.