Virtual Reality

3 Augmented Reality In Retail Trends

eCommerce will account for at least 22% of global retail purchases by 2023. As reliance on online shopping grows steadily, retailers have to keep up with the changing customer demands. Emerging technologies like augmented reality prove to be the best way for retailers to connect with customers in the modern retail space. 

Although augmented reality is not a new technology, it has been receiving more attention in recent years as retailers adopt personalized and convenient methods for customers to interact with their brand. 

The emergence of developments such as the launch of AR apps and 5G connectivity is on the rise. It permanently transforms the retail experience, and retailers need to keep up with the changing times to survive in the highly competitive market. That said, here are 3 augmented reality in retail trends you need to know.

1. Try-before-you-buy

Virtual try-before-you-buy customer experiences are leading when it comes to the use of AR in the retails sector. Brands like American Apparel and Ikea now have AR as part of the customer experience. 

With the American Apparel AR app, customers get to try on clothes, match them, and choose colors without ever getting into a fitting room and reduce return. Hence, no more waiting in line to use a busy fitting room or carrying clothes home without trying them. The American Apparel AR app also allows the customers to order clothes or buy them as gifts for others.

The try-before-you-buy experience for Ikea makes it possible for customers to place furniture in rooms to see how it will look before committing the purchase. Like American Apparel, they have an AR app, meaning customers can do everything from their mobile devices.. Brands that do not have a mobile app can also use a QR Code Generator to create customized QR Codes that can trigger AR experiences on the customers’ mobile devices. 

Given the convenience and personalized experience AR provides with try-before-you-buy, many customers slowly embrace the technology. At least 71% of customers who have used AR apps at retail stores are willing to shop more often to use them.

2. Hygienic makeup trials 

Hygiene is always a big issue for customers when it comes to trying out makeup before purchase. In retail stores, several people will end up trying the same makeup kit. With the onset of the pandemic, proper hygiene is becoming even more crucial.

Retailers ensure proper hygiene for their customers by facilitating them to try out makeup virtually without ever touching the physical kit using AR. With AR, customers only need a phone camera to check how any makeup product will go with their skin. 

This emerging trend is improving customer experience and helping makeup retailers like Sephora adhere to stricter public hygiene requirements. Sephora’s AR app allows the customers to check how the makeup looks before buying and even ask friends for their opinions. Customers also get to order their makeup from the same app, which further improves the customer experience. 

3. Increased brand awareness

AR has been around for quite some time, but despite becoming more mainstream, retailers that use it can still set themselves apart from others as it leads to increased brand awareness. The unique experience that comes with AR makes it hard for customers to forget the retailer and henceforth always associate it with the technology.

An excellent example of how impactful AR can be at increasing brand awareness is the success of Airwalk’s Jim limited edition shoes. The company incorporated AR and geolocation into their marketing strategy for the shoes, creating a unique and fun shopping experience. 

In the end, Airwalk got a significant increase in revenues and shop traffic. But, the fact that customers were left with the perception that the brand is forward-thinking and innovative shows AR’s effectiveness in increasing brand awareness.

What is next for augmented reality?

Technology is now an integral part of the retails sector, and its role is likely to get even more vital in the future. Augmented Reality is one of the retail shopping technologies to pay attention to going forward. It is inevitable for retailers to consider how it will best work for their customers.

Although some brands are currently using AR for its flair, the retailers need to pay more attention to enhancing customer experience and brand recognition. A significant percentage of customers are even willing to pay more for products to experience shopping using AR

Luke Fitzpatrick

Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, The Next Web, and Influencive. He is a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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Luke Fitzpatrick

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