– Emerging technology is changing the way retailers interact with customers, and the ways customers interact with products.
– Augmented reality allows you to layer digital components over the real world.
– Retail applications for augmented reality span industries including fashion & beauty, gaming, furniture & interior design, and more.
– Developing AR experiences can be expensive, but they can also yield higher conversion rates and save your business money on overhead.
Among NFTs, VR, and blockchain, augmented reality is being touted as the future of retail, and many online shoppers are already adjusting to the convenience of AR-enabled shopping features. In fact, analysts predict that the AR market will reach $198 billion in 2025 and in 2022, the number of mobile AR users is expected to reach 3.5 billion.
So, it seems like there’s plenty of interest in what augmented reality can offer. But what exactly is augmented reality and what can it do for your retail business? Let’s break that down.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality, or AR for short, is a way of splicing together a virtual world against our real one. Imagine looking out a window – you see street beyond your house, maybe a few neighbors strolling by. Then you pull out your smartphone and open your camera app. Looking out the window through your phone, there’s the same street, but now a virtual parade is livening up the avenue for you to enjoy!
With AR, you can add digital layers to reality.
Remember when everyone was playing Pokémon GO back in 2016? That was a mobile game that used AR to encourage players to explore their towns and environments looking for tiny fictional animals to collect. Not only did it boost the activity levels of millions of users, but it also reignited a fervor for the Pokémon franchise. Why not do the same for industries other than gaming?
Retailers have seen the potential in this interactive tech too, and are finding innovative ways to apply it to their products.
How to Use Augmented Reality in Retail
The applications for augmented reality span across industries. From virtual try-ons for clothing brands or jewelry companies, to Amazon’s View in Your Room feature for furniture items, the opportunity to interact with products from a virtual marketplace can make it easier for customers to make confident purchases. Beauty brands are using the technology too, allowing shoppers to test shade matches and color swatches on their faces without ever touching a product.
In short, you can enhance the shopping experience with AR-enabled features that make your products more accessible to customers. But the fun doesn’t stop there! You can also amplify your audience’s enjoyment of the products they’ve already purchased or brand assets they interact with using augmented reality.
Starbucks, for example, has holiday cups that animate when viewed through a smartphone app. This additional layer of interactivity gets people talking about your brand and incentivizes purchases through built-in experiences.
What Does It Cost to Use Augmented Reality in Retail?
Developing your own AR experience can be costly, but there are benefits to adopting this technology. The chance to try-before-you-buy is enticing to your customers who may be on the fence about paying shipping or return fees, or who simply aren’t convinced by a 2D rendering of your product.
Increasing customer confidence can help reduce your overhead, as well. With fewer returns, restocking costs, and customer service back-and-forth, your business can enjoy the success that comes with more satisfied customers.
Want to see if augmented reality is right for you? Work with a Marketing Mentor to explore the opportunities emerging tech can provide to your business.
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