Augmented Reality (AR) is nothing new, but it has been explored over the years and is thought to have been a useful but hard to accomplish, especially in retail. However, augmented reality is no longer a future possibility for retail as 75% of consumers now expect retailers to offer the experience of augmented reality when shopping. Brands that take advantage of augmented reality will be the brands/companies that satisfy their customers the most in the future!
There are various ways augmented reality will transform retail in the future, we’ve selected 5 main ways that it will modify how we shop in the future and then consider the ways you can apply this to your own retail strategy.
Look at 3D Products in Your Home
Sometimes, having a in-store experience doesn’t help customers visualise how products will look in their homes. One of the biggest ways AR will transform retail is by offering customers the opportunity to see products in home before purchase.
An example of this is how Magnolia Market partnered with Shopify’s AR team to create an app that allows its customers to see the product in home before they purchase it.
Furthermore, Home Depot also released their Project Color app in 2015, which allows users to see how a paint color looks in a room. The AR technology takes into account the lighting, objects, and shadows in the room. This means that the customer can get a realistic idea of how the paint color will look in real life.
Virtual Fitting Rooms
Fitting rooms can be discouraging for customers, especially around busy shopping seasons. A shopper might buy an item, try it on at home, and return it just to avoid the fitting room line. Other times, customers might even decide that an item isn’t worth the hassle.
If you’re going to use AR, you’ll want to brainstorm how to make the lives of your customers easier. For example, Topshop, partnered with AR Door and used Kinect motion sensing technology to create a virtual fitting room for customers at their store in Moscow. Customers would stand in front of the camera and they will get to see the clothing item presented on their body, so they can see how it would look without having to actually try anything on!
AR can help you appeal to more customers, including shoppers who are rushed or frustrated by the crowds. To satisfy more people you might include AR fitting rooms into your store.
Virtually Try on 3D Products
When in a store packed with customers, it can sometimes put you off of trying something on no matter how much you may need a new pair of clothes or shoes.
There are a few brands that are using AR to help tackle this problem. For example. Lacoste’s LCST Lacoste AR app lets users to virtually try on shoes. Over 30000 users have interacted with the products in their app! Also, Sephora created a Virtual Artist App with ModiFace to show Sephora app users how makeup products will look on their face through their phone’s camera.
As the end of the year approaches, busy shoppers will turn to brands like Lacoste and Sephora to ensure they like the look of a product before making an online purchase. By offering a comparable alternative to the in-store experience, you’re able to appeal to a larger demographic.
Gather In-Store Information
60% of shoppers look up product information/prices when using their mobile phones in stores. Augmented reality will provide a solution to meeting shoppers’ needs.
There’s certain product information a shopper can’t ask a sales assistant, such as “What do your other customers think of this product?”
AR can help with this issue. For example, American Apparel have an AR app that lets customers scan signs in-store and the app will the bring up information about the products, customer reviews, colour options and price! Users would be able to find this information online without an AR app but augmented reality helps bridge the gap between offline and online shopping, creating a more connected experience for customers.
Even though augmented reality is becoming increasingly mainstream, it is still unique and surprising. It’s important you consider how AR would best suit your customers’ needs. To create a stable long-term retail strategy, you should consider how the AR technology can enhance your shoppers experience. Therefore, by taking this into account, it should likely create a lasting success for you brand!