Innovation That Matters

AR shopping app

AR shopping app targets Chinese millennials


A Chinese AR shopping app hopes to increase retail sales by appealing to Chinese millennials

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The newest trend in retail is experiential shopping – making a shopping trip more about the overall experience than simply purchasing something new. We have seen this with innovations such as a platform that gamifies shopping and in-store AR experiences. Now, a Chinese startup is combining experiential retail with AR technology in a new mobile app, dubbed CoolHobo (no, not a drifter with a bag on a stick, but a slight mispronunciation of the Chinese word for carrot). The CoolHobo app allows shoppers to find products in a store, learn more about the products, and receive reviews from friends. The company expects to focus first on the grocery market, and expand later to other types of retail.

CoolHobo users will be able to choose a product and find a nearby store that carries it. Once in the store, a virtual assistant will pop up in the app to direct the user to the product’s location. When users point the camera at an item, an array of information will appear in AR on the screen. This includes information about the product, nutritional value, recipes, and reviews. The app is aimed squarely at Chinese millenials, who are constantly demanding more from their shopping experience. CoolHobo Co-Founder Loïc Kobes describes the app as, “Cool, fun, social, fast, easy and smart … an app to make the future possible today.”

According to CoolHobo, the app was inspired by the fact that while imported products are very popular in China, there is a lack of information available about them. This can make it difficult for customers to choose between two similar, imported items. The startup is launching the app in summer 2018. The company has been through the US-based SOSV accelerator program and is currently engaging in a seed round of funding.

Takeaway: An increasing number of forward-thinking retail brands are using AR to create more interactive shopping experiences. CoolHobo is using immersive technologies to lure young, tech-savvy consumers into stores in China. How could your business use AR to enhance the customer experience?



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