Augmented Reality (AR) is quickly becoming one of the hottest trends in the world and industries, recognized as a creative and innovative way of increasing engagement. It’s a great thing to be a technology enthusiast. Augmented Reality can be used in almost every single field known to the human beings and AR has an almost limitless potential and power.
AR is the technology that layers computing-generated enhancements on top of an existing and natural world, in order to make it more valid through the ability to interact with it. Augmented Reality is developed into applications and used on a-mobile devices, actually to blend digital elements into the real world and they enhance one another, but also can be told apart easily by the way.
So, AR lets users see the surroundings along with digital objects. Taking into account the fact AR is mostly used on smartphones and doesn’t require any helmet, this technology is more perspective for companies.
By 2021, the combined market size of augmented reality is expected to reach 215 billion U.S. dollars. With tech giants helping developers secure the right tools, the development of new software will rise dramatically. Accordingly, there is an expected increment in the market potential because of ease of development and awareness among consumers.
The technology is predicted to attract 1 billion users by 2020. With its potential applications for social media and e-commerce, it's no surprise that a quarter of brands are currently trying to figure out how to incorporate AR into their marketing.
According to Retail Perceptions, a report that measures the influence of AR on the retail sector, 61% of shoppers prefer to shop at stores that offer AR.
The surveyed people say that the most popular items to shop for with augmented reality are:
With augmented reality apps:
The retail industry is probably the industry best able to leverage the immersive experiences that AR offers.
This technology enhances the shopping experience and offers a totally new take on how retailers engage with customers. Augmented Reality offers the limitless option to the business owners through which they are able to attract more customers towards their business and convert them to use what they are offering.
AR came into existence several years ago but got the popularity when the famous video game Pokemon Go released that was created using augmented reality technology. With the popularity of this game that broke all the records of the gaming history, the demand of AR increases at a large scale.
However, the best way to use augmented reality technology is in retail. With the use of this technology in shopping you would experience a new way to shop for the things that you will love and also you will be completely satisfied about the product you are purchasing. AR provides complete information of the product that you are going to purchase that is the best part that customers love while using this technology.
Here are four examples of retailers already into the game and how they are using AR to their advantage:
1) Warby Parker
The company has a pioneering contribution in bringing augmented reality into the retail space. There are several spectacle manufacturers and eyeglass companies that offer virtual try on glasses using online software. But, with AR technology integrated into their app, Warby Parker allows users to upload a photo. The photo includes the user holding a credit card up to their face. Why a credit card? Because credit cards are usually of a standard size. This helps in calculating the distance between the two pupils (eyes) of the shopper.
2) Yihaodian AR
Yihaodian, China’s largest online grocery store, deserves a special mention. Yihaodian utilized AR not only to enhance customer experience online, but also to expand to new locations, without spending a single dime on real estate.
By using AR, Yihaodian opened ‘’virtual’’ stores nationwide in parking lots, parks, and tourist spots. Customers with the Yiahaodian app could use the mobile platform to shop virtually at the designated locations. The app uses the phone’s camera to guide the user through ‘virtual aisles’, where they can simply touch a product on the screen to add it to their cart. When they are done, they can arrange for the products to be sent to their home.
3) Uniqlo fitting rooms
Japanese fashion brank Uniqlo first used AR fitting rooms back in 2012 and was followed by Adidas, Gap and many other large companies. During such a virtual fitting session, the user stands in front of a “mirror” and browses the store’s catalog. All selected models instantly appear in the mirror as if the customer was wearing them. There’s no need to change in and out of clothes to try a different size, color, or model.
4) De Beers
The high end jewelry maker – De Beers, bought its AR in the market for the Forevermark diamond brand with a unique take on the technology. The brand made a memorable impression by bringing its augmented reality experience for users. De Beers integrated the physical object to make it seem more real for users by enchanting transparency property of AR technology.
AR will drastically change our shopping habits and will affect retail, e-commerce and fashion in a significant way. If you're a customer visiting a retail store, by using AR technology you'll be able to view all the information about the product you want to purchase online, like reviews, similar products and price, while looking at the actual physical product via your smartphone.
Consumer expectations of mobile experiences are increasing, and the way they use retail mobile apps is evolving quickly. To stay ahead of the competition and capture mobile shoppers, retailers can consider fostering deeper customer relationships, creating more compelling loyalty programs and providing great customer experiences to fully capitalize on the benefits retail mobile apps have to offer.