Businesses all around the world are using immersive technology like VR, AR, MR, and XR to raise awareness, differentiate from competitors and drive sales. Augmented Reality (AR) in particular is being adopted by retailers (online and offline) at a rapid rate. This spike in interest for
is being fuelled by a plethora of reasons, some of which include ease of accessibility, advancements in immersive technology and the overwhelmingly positive response from shoppers. Augmented Reality in retail
With online sales expected to rise to $6 trillion by 2022, AR will play a significant role in retail, e-commerce, and merchandising shortly. That is the reason we crafted this beginners guide to augmented reality for retailers who are looking to add immersive technology into their business.
Statista.com What is AR or Augmented Reality?
AR or augmented reality is a semi-immersive experience, where computer-generated, perceptual information is being projected onto the real world. This perceptual information can range from visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory, to the olfactory.
Unlike virtual reality, shoppers don’t need to use headsets to experience augmented reality. AR experiences can be accessed using smartphones or tablets. Whether they are on the train commuting to work, or enjoying a cup of coffee at a cafe, with augmented reality, shoppers can access AR content instantly, anywhere.
Benefits of using AR in retail
The benefit of augmented reality in retail includes cost savings from fewer returns, improved shopping experiences, increased basket size and much more. For the sake of this post, let’s explore these three benefits.
AR helps retailers save money
With more and more sales being generated online, retailers often use their return policy as a form of confidence guarantee for consumers. This can be disadvantageous if they are covering shipping for returns as well.
, they are less likely to return it. With AR, retailers can still have a return policy as they do, but once customers will be able to visualize a product
AR improves the shopping experience
According to a study published by
, 71% of consumers will shop at a store more often if they offer AR. A third of shoppers already use AR, and of those, 47% would prefer to use AR both in-store and online. The most stunning statistic is that 40% of customers would pay more to brands that offer AR to enhance their purchasing decisions. Retail Perceptions
AR increases average basket size
Allowing shoppers to visualize products, change specs and customize products in real-time increases the likelihood that buyers will include add-ons and ancillary offerings. It will also equip front-line staff to push higher-margin offers which require demonstrations and use cases to justify the added costs.
Hackernoon.com How Retailers are Using Augmented Reality?
AR in retail is revolutionizing the way shoppers discover, interact and customize products they are interested in purchasing. For the first time, buyers have the power to access full-scale, 3D models of their desired products without the need to physically travel to the brick-and-mortar shop.
With the help of augmented reality, retailers can now provide an immersive experience both inside and outside of a store. Below are a few ways retailers are already using AR to help their business differentiate from competitors and win more sales.
AR in Furniture
Buying new furniture can be challenging. AR can help shoppers visualize what different appliances, couches, tables, cabinets, and dressers will look like in different parts of their homes before purchase. Shoppers can view furniture in different colours, textures, sizes, and shapes to match with their surroundings to empower their confidence in their purchasing decisions.
AR in Interior Design
AR can be revolutionary for both event planners and interior designers. Event planning itself is a stressful job and often choosing the right arrangement can make a big difference.
Their ideas for design and layout will not be limited to 2D drawings but can be viewed in a 3D space. They will be able to see what works and what doesn’t before spending any money on making it a reality. With the help of AR, interior designers can easily visualize and present their ideas in real-time.
AR in Fashion
Instead of visiting the store or making returns after purchase, consumers will be able to experiment with different fittings for the clothes, jewelry, and shoes that they buy. They will be able to experiment with different colours.
Bespoke fashion, in particular, can take advantage of this technology. Unlike fast fashion, bespoke needs to be custom-made, and if the client is interested in trying a different colour or style they won’t have the freedom to make those choices once the piece is being created, and, of course, they can’t simply return them. With the help of AR, customers can see what the final product will look like and have complete confidence in the design before it leaves the tailor’s studio.
AR can also be very helpful when it comes to purchasing consumer wearable electronics. Imagine you are trying to buy a watch online, but don’t have the luxury to try on different colours or models beforehand. But you really like that particular style, and you are keen to try it on before purchasing. With the help of AR, consumers will be able to see how the products fit them. They can play with different models and colours, without ever having to leave the comfort of their homes.
AR in Makeup
An AR makeup app can help people to see what different products will look like on their own skin tones before purchasing. Instead of visiting the store to swatch unsanitary tester products in an overwhelming and busy environment, shoppers can see which shades, styles and finishes work better for them than the others. This saves a trip to the mall and gives buyers a more accurate representation of the product before deciding whether it would suit them.
For the beauty and skincare business, product returns represent a significant loss annually. Since returned beauty products cannot simply be re-sold, they represent a profit loss. Any additional confidence that consumers can have before making a purchase represents a higher chance of a sale being final.
Top Examples of AR in Retail
IKEA YouTube Channel
IKEA has launched its own AR app called IKEA Place. The app lets users browse through their catalogue to choose the furniture they want to buy, and virtually add it to their room to meet their needs. The app allows users to first scan the surrounding environment to get an idea of the dimensions before they can start placing furniture through the app. The unique app lets you choose between different furniture products and colours to see which suits you better.