Enhancing the Retail Experience for H-E-B

Augmented Reality

San Antonio-based grocery store H-E-B has always remained ahead of the technology curve. In 2018, the brand piloted H-E-B Go, a self-checkout mobile app that lets shoppers scan items as they place them in their carts so they can tap to pay and skip the checkout line altogether. They also bought Favor Delivery, a mobile app service that delivers grocery orders straight to customers’ homes.

It was no surprise, then, that when the brand discovered their customers were having trouble navigating their way through H-E-B stores, they reached out to Subvrsive to help solve the problem with augmented reality.

The Combo Loco Conundrum

H-E-B offers its customers plenty of ways to save while shopping. One such way is through Combo Loco deals that offer instant savings when shoppers buy two or more related products; buy a pack of hot dogs on Aisle 7 and score a free bottle of ketchup on Aisle 4. The only problem? Shoppers often have difficulty navigating from Point A to Point B.

Take Me to the Ketchup

To help H-E-B solve the problem of in-store navigation, our team engineered a custom AR tool to lead shoppers straight to the products they’re looking for. Users simply scan the Combo Loco coupon at Point A to ignite floating augmented reality arrows that show the way to the products at Point B. As users move through the store, the arrows respond like a compass leading shoppers straight to the products they’re after.

Seamless Integration with H-E-B Go

Wanting to avoid forcing customers to download yet another mobile app, H-E-B requested that the AR wayfinding experience work within their existing application. So, our team created the experience as an application shell that we handed off to H-E-B’s team to integrate into the H-E-B Go app. We took special care to design every element within the experience according to H-E-B’s look and feel so the experience remained on brand.

Showcasing the Experience

The H-E-B team showed off the augmented reality experience at an annual H-E-B summit hosted in San Antonio. Overwhelmingly positive user feedback from the demonstration showed just how effective a combination of AR wayfinding and AR coupons can be.

“Amongst its many other advantages, AR’s ability to provide an intuitive way to optimize wayfinding in retail environments sets it miles apart from other mobile-based technologies.”

– Ian Villamin, VP of Interactive Development, Subvrsive

Augmented Reality for In-Store Wayfinding and Games

The possibilities to turn shopping from an errand into an experience using augmented reality are endless. While we are at the very beginning of the industry’s efforts to grasp the potential and optimal application of augmented reality in brick and mortar retail, now is the time to experiment, learn, and be bold.

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