Augmented Reality in Retail: Customer Experience Taken to the Next Level

Retail and eCommerce are the most Robust Adapters of Augmented reality!

When we say Retail Industry, the talk is all about enhanced customer engagement and over the top customer experience.

Technological advancements have led us to live in the era of hyper-personalization where businesses today are connecting deeply with customers, leveraging the immersive technologies of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and 3D technology.

I won’t define these three major techniques solely, rather, I would assert a statement that is true about all.

“AR, VR and 3D technology integrate digital feed with the physical environment, add graphics, sound, the haptics of the natural world to an e-device and combine real-life with animation or superimposed image using a camera or a special headgear.”

Retail carries a tremendous potential to adopt these robust technologies and must actualize to reshape the digital customer experience in 2020 and beyond, empowering companies to progress and increase their financial prospects.
img1
Source- vma-nordic.com

Conducting Business in Retail with Augmented Reality

If you want to make your store or an eCommerce space a reference in terms of technological innovation, then you must look in-depth at Augmented Reality in retail.

AR is another big leap in technological innovation where many big establishments have already incorporated digital tools to enrich their customer experience both in-store and online. Augmented Reality Development is the next big thing of the tech ecosystem, looked upon by many businesses to personalize and customize their marketing techniques as per the user’s intent.

Let’s analyze the changing tectonic trends of shopping carried out in the retail business.

Today, customers are not handed a physical catalog to choose a product or item.
Instead, they are provided with interactive apps to select a product type, pick the perfect fit as per the intended dimensions, color, or style, and then try it out, accessing from an intuitive environment from all the comfort of their home.

The shifting traits of the shopping experience are directly proportional to how well technology can represent the most meaningful context of product attributes to pique customer’s interest.

# Offline Stores

– Store Navigation

Supermarkets and multi-store brands possess a wide array of display sections and usually see a huge crowd of customers, especially at the time of ongoing deals and offers.

In both these scenarios, there are high chances of customers to get lost in the maze of product options while complicating the situation at the customer’s end. They may either end up finding their desired product and get annoyed or may get in touch with a sales representative to seek knowledge for the intended product.

While eradicating such troublesome circumstances, Augmented Reality can turn a reckless shopping experience into a seamless one, assisting lost customers with guided store navigation to direct them towards the aisle they wish to reach.

– Virtual Trial Rooms

Long waiting queues is a significant reason to hamper a customer’s purchase during their shopping voyage.
In this regard, they are left with two feasible options which influence their buying patterns. First, they may consider buying the product without taking a trial, second, they may skip buying, having less time to invest standing in the queue line.

This where augmented reality can make a mark by providing virtual trial rooms, giving customers a tech edge to visualize themselves in the mirrors or screens while taking trials without physically trying them.

Topshop, Timberland, and more can be added to the list of apparel brands that made use of the Kinect to create virtual fitting rooms. Topshop in Moscow had a virtual dressing room, leveraging AR Door that took customer experience to the next level.

img2
Source- huffingtonpost.in

– Product Customization

This is relatable especially in the case of women, where they cannot be satiated displaying only a few options in colors, prints, or style.

Taking the place of in-store staff, AR-powered mobile applications can replace the salesperson where a customer can scan a product code and check out the color, print, size options with a few taps in their smartphones.

This potential sea change can open great opportunities for businesses to accelerate their business gains, embedding AR technology as an application’s back support.

Moreover, long queues for the bill payments can add to another reason for leaving customers in despair. While AR apps enlighten the shopper everything about the product, they also display the price tags along with the feasible payment options they can proceed with, completing their shopping journey at ease.

Nike’s divergent nature of shopping:, On one hand, Team Nike is omnipresent for assistance and on the other hand, they offer to shop entirely through the Nike App. A thorough look at the App features:

  • ‘Scan to Try’’ to request items
  • ‘Ask the Expert’ for advice from chatbots
  • Kiosks posses ‘hanger drops’ and bags
  • Make a purchase via ‘Shop the Look’ on mannequins
  • ‘Nike by You’ allows app users to customize their own shoes (more entertainment-driven experience)

# Online eCommerce Space

– 3D Product Trials

Give a boost to your online sales by enabling 3D product trials of your online products, applying them to the bodies of the shoppers. This surges the possibilities of the purchase by assuring a customer about the selected item and lowers the chances of returns on the flip.

Your business can augment wearable products like shoes, apparel, jewelry, makeup, etc. placed under the focus of a high-resolution camera focus that renders results in real-time, satisfying the customer’s desire for a worthy buy.

Let’s check out some real-world examples of Augmented Reality, implemented in the Retail Business:

  • L’Oreal and Sephora have earned huge popularity doubling and tripling their customer engagement and website conversions using AR supported apps, making the shopping experience fun and intuitive.
  • Lacoste AR app enables shoppers to try the shoes virtually before making a purchase and helped them acquire nearly 300,00 shoppers.
  • Zara AR App allows users to get insights on their apparels, how they outfit pieces fit and move, calculating the dimensions virtually.
  • Ikea’s AR furniture app lets you preview furniture pieces in your abode, selecting any suitable area of a user’s choice and make a purchase in real-time using augmented reality.
  • Diamond Hedge uses an AR-powered platform to shop diamond rings (among one million diamond collection) which you like, making the selection virtually in the app.

img4
Source- diamondhedge.com

– Customizations

Modification in the original versions of an item as per the user’s intent, certainly, is the need of the hour in the Retail sphere.

Consider all aspects of your business product and look out for those attributes which can be reformed and tailored as per customer’s needs and wishes.

– Personal Shopping Assistant

Many brands have incorporated smartphone usage aiming to achieve complete 360-degree digitization of the online shopping experience.

AR-supported applications (mobile and web both) can act as your shopping assistants throughout the time spent by a user on your website even in your physical stores. Customers can be given the power of ease by providing:

  • Scanning options of items
  • Selecting the right size, color, dimension
  • Send items to fitting rooms or an interactive ecosystem
  • Request sales assistance if needed
  • Enable payment options for the final selection

How does Augmented Reality Influence Retail?

In the short time of this technology, it has quickly captivated retailers, who have not missed the opportunity to incorporate them as part of their sales and customer loyalty strategies, let us see below some of its main advantages.

1. Improve Customer Experience

Stores have already begun to perceive the benefits of Augmented Reality in Retail, mainly as they are used as a tool in favor of improving the customer experience. In fact, studies reveal that more than 60% of consumers prefer to buy in those stores that offer AR-type experiences.
img3
Source- citrusbits.com

This technology allows attacking that sector of the technology-loving population, which for the most part is made up of young people, who enjoy and appreciate the fact of living that virtual experience and also recommend others to attend the store so that they can also experience it.

2. Virtually Test a Product

Customer habits are very variable, and there are some buyers who are not willing to wait to try on a garment, which is why through Augmented Reality retailers have found a solution to develop applications based on this technology.

To do this, they have developed innovative apps that allow customers to try on shoes and clothing virtually through their mobile devices, simplifying the process of choosing their garments.

[Prefer Reading: “How Augmented Reality is Likely to Improve Healthcare?”]

3. 3D Product Visualization

From the comfort of their homes, buyers can observe the products as if they were inside the store, observing in detail what they like, in a 360 ° tour.

Even though Augmented Reality, it is possible to take that product and simulate what it would look like in the living room or in a bedroom of your house.

4. Increase Connection with Brand

The customers appreciate the fact the online/physical stores are making available this type of technological tools, which translates into an opportunity to raise awareness of the brand and establish a much stronger bond with their customers.

5. Reduce Cart Abandonments and Returns

Cart abandonment is simply when your purchasers add an item in the cart but don’t proceed with its buy.

As AR is a fun expedition, it drives a great user experience via a virtual representation of products in 3D, cart abandonment and product returns take a backseat looking at these smart and reliable shopping solutions.

6. Aids Online Marketing

AR transforms the shopping experience into an interactive and entertaining form which not only benefits customers; nevertheless, it aids businesses to strengthen their brand bond with the visitors, prospects, and customers, resulting in a deep engagement.

[Prefer Reading: “Virtual Reality Application Development: Marketing Tips for Businesses.”]

Once you make connections, which is the toughest part, you can convert them into leads and happy customers by adding a touch of personalization and contextualization as per their wants.

AR Apps recognize the value of personalization and aim to render the best experience of purchasing items online by 3D image processing along with recommendations of viable products (mentioning pros and cons both) which are backed up by AI and Deep Learning algorithmic programs.

Will Augmented Reality still be famous in Retail for its outstanding contribution?
Let us know your thoughts on the same and feel free to post related valuable information useful for our readers in the comment section.



Leave a Reply