The Retail world is seeing transformations that would have been unimaginable some 20 years ago.

It has been able to seamlessly integrate technology into customer’s lifestyles to enhance their shopping experience.

Innovations such as smart appliances collect useful data with the help of various wearable and handheld devices to autonomously flow data throughout the tech-ecosystem.

Today’s consumers are seeking ways for their technology to simplify their lives and help them be more productive.

Real-time data flow creates clarity for the customer, enhance his safety, improves cost efficiency, and helps select products the customer needs.

All while an intuitive retailing system can simultaneously select, aggregate, and analyze useful data for each individual store, giving your stores the essential information that connects you with your customers and their day-to-day needs.

The in-store experience can be designed to not only make shopping more streamlined but also provide a shopping experience as unique as each shopper.

This data works with an intelligent system to provide customers with useful information in real-time and each experience is customized to soothe the individual’s needs.

The consumer feels empowered to make the right choices, saving both time and money in the process, leaving them more time for what matters to them.

This is the power of Augmented Reality in the Retail Industry.

The ways in which Augmented Reality (AR) is implemented in the retail business


Offline Stores

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Retailers never leave any stone unturned when it comes to pleasing their customers. Newer ways to attract new customers and tactics to retain and hold the loyal customers are been implemented regularly.

Here, we have shown some of the ways where Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can help in your in-store sales by leveraging benefits to your customers.

Store Navigation

Multi-branded stores and supermarkets have a wide range of varieties in their displays and hence their customers easily get lost in the maze of product options.

In such scenarios, many are even unable to find their way to the particular desired product. They get in touch with other customers and the store staff to know the way to get their aspired product in the store.

AR and VR can make a consumer’s shopping reality, a very smooth experience. It can help such lost customers with guided store navigation to get them to the aisle they are looking for.

Virtual Trial Room

Shoppers are chiefly hindered by the long waiting queues outside the trial rooms during their shopping voyage. Most of the time they skip buying a product as they have less time and a long queue for the trial ahead of them.

Some of them may play smart by buying clothes without trying them just to avoid the queue and return the product after a trial at home.

All of this can be skipped by using the technology of augmented reality in your retail business. Apparel stores can avail their customers with virtual trial rooms where they can visualize themselves in the chosen pair of clothes in front of a mirror/screen and decide on their own if the color, design, and fit suit them or not without physically trying them on.

Product Customization

A perfect shopping experience is not achieved until a customer is satisfied by looking at all the available color options and variants of a chosen product. Especially women! They want to know all the color and print options available in their chosen dress or stilettos.

This demands a lot of attention to the customer by the in-store staff, who finally end up winding up all the variants with the customer buying the first chosen fit and color.

Herein, an AR-enabled mobile app can take up this role of the salesperson. The customer can simply scan the product code in his/her smartphone, and the app will show the available color options and sizes available in the scanned product.

This can make one’s shopping experience independent and easy as pie.

AR-based Product Information and Payment Option

Not only the trial room queues, but also the bill payment queues pull out a hell lot of time from a customers’ shopping life.

Consumers get into asking the intricate details of the products in their shopping cart, which exhausts the counter person.

Well, AR has got a solution to this too. All the product details show up as the product is scanned with the smartphone camera and the AR app enlightens the shopper everything about the product including its price and the payment options.

Customers can now directly pay for the product via the AR mobile app without any troubles of waiting in the line.

Online Stores

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There is high competition amongst the online businesses, each one of them is striving to be different and unique.

Technology is peeling its skin day by day, only to present to the world the unthinkable functionalities in the blink of an eye.

AR in Retail is being a trend and online businesses are benefitting by implementing it in the following ways.

Interactive 3D Product Trials

When retailers like you can sell products online, then why not give your customers online trials as well?

Augmented Reality can help you portray the products in your store on the bodies of your shoppers. This makes them sure about the chosen product and eliminates your return orders.

Just like Snapchat augments various filters on the user’s face, the same way you can augment wearable products such as jewelry store, shoes, apparels, etc on your buyer’s body placed under camera focus.

Virtual Training & Tutorials (of how to use the product) (Using VR and AR)

Customers get more influenced and convinced for buying a product when they see others using it. An explanatory video has a strong impact on viewers, that motivates them to buy it.

The app user gets interactive with the augmented or virtual product, they learn how to use it, and they are almost there buying from your online store.

Customizations

Many times, customers want some modifications in the original product, for eg. a color variant or maybe say another style or print. They wouldn’t be confident unless you assure them by probably showing how would there expected product shall look.

With the help of Augmented reality in the Retail sector, you can present product customizations to your customers.

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Marketing & Promotion

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The marketing and promotion efforts are only to keep up with the prospects and existing customers. When retailers are already using AR VR in their physical and online store, why should you look over this important aspect of your business?

You can retain and attract customers using augmented reality in your retail store in the following manner

AR-based In-Store Games with promotional coupons

One of the best examples of AR games is Pokemon for sure. Using this game, many restaurants and retail stores benefiting themselves (through the Pokemon hunters visiting their stores) had contracted with the game.

In a similar fashion, retailers like you can have an AR based custom mobile app for your own store such that
Your store visitors get attracted by the AR technology and compete and play to win coupons or vouchers of your store.

Product Display & Introduction

The first impression is the prime, ever-lasting and difficult to erase. This makes you closer to use Augmented Reality in your retail business, such that when your prospective buyers visit you, they have no option left but to get engraved by the Augmented and Virtual Reality.

You can either have a virtual store set up at public places having large unused background walls, or you can advertise your store or products in the same manner.

Product Launch

Augmented Reality can be used for product launches as these events are the most important- especially in the automobile and cellphone sector.

It can add up to the overall product experience even. This would not only make the event successful but also sales of the presented product would touch the skies.

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Real-World Examples of Implementation of Augmented Reality in Retail Industry


Take a look at the examples that are already hitting the market with their AR hype in various domains.

Use of AR in the Furniture Retail Industry

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Ikea Place

The Ikea store took its customers’ concerns and issues seriously. They were one of the pioneer in using Augmented Reality in retail sector. They found that most of their product returns come with the reason of ‘it didn’t fit’!

Hence, they came up with the Ikea Place ARKit app, which avails users a 3D preview of the chosen furniture at the desired spot in their homes/offices. The users can look for the fit and preferences in the furniture items.

Amazon AR View app

The Amazon shopping site has a feature for its iPhone users to view virtual products, furniture, gadgets, etc. in their homes. The app allows iPhone users to view any of the chosen products- virtually augmented wherever they wish to place it.

Houzz

The app Houzz- View in my Room 3D allows Houzz customers to virtually place the furniture in desired locations and spots in their homes via their iOS devices.

AR is the hottest technology used by eCommerce stores to grow their eCommerce business

Use of AR in Home Improvement

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Home Depot

The Home Depot provides a new variation of AR functionality. It not only prevails the 3D view of furniture in the user’s home but also allows the user to virtually try on different wall paints before implementing physical changes.

It’s always necessary to be sure of how the end-product is going to look.

Lowe’s Home Improvement

The Measured by Lowe’s app turns the user’s camera into a digital measure tape such that it depicts and records the measurements of the things in front of the camera.

Magicplan

This app lets the users create floor plans through their mobile’s camera. It detects and captures windows and doors on its own, measures ceiling heights, and draws a floor plan.

It also enables material and cost estimation, virtual tours, and placement of 3D models. Floorplans can be viewed in 3D and 2D views, exported in a variety of file formats (PDF, JPG, etc.), and are compatible with Excel, AutoCAD, and design other programs.

Use of AR in Beauty Retail Industry

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Sephora Virtual Artist

Sephora was the first of all AR apps. This app allows users to virtually try on make-up products and see how it looks on them before buying it.

LOreal Style My hair

This app allows users to try different hairstyles before going for a makeover. It also gives users a moveable augmented view, such that they can move their head angles to see how the new do will appear on them in real-time. It also has got sharing options to take friends’ suggestions and it helps them by finding a nearby Lo’real Salon to get the desired haircut.

Ink Hunter

A really good decision maker app that gives the user preview of a tattoo before getting it inked permanently on his body part. It has got many designs available to choose from but the user can also choose a design from the web or his gallery, edit the tattoo, and place it on his body to have a view of its impactful presence.

Use of AR in Fashion & Jewelry

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Nike

Nike is the latest member to use the Augmented Reality in the retail sector, the new update to Nike app offers a feature that allows the user to scan the exact fitting size for shoes using a smartphone camera.

Tissot

The Tissot watch brand had launched a limited period app in 2010 in the AR brand activation and they found that the sales of the watches went high by 85% because of such a close experience by the customers.

Here the shoppers (users) had to hold a paper watch band with AR markers on it which gave them Tissot’s AR watch experience on their hands.

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Say Yes!

This is a fun application for trying on engagement rings without needing to visit a physical jewelry store. The app uses hand-recognition technology along with Augmented Reality visualization to map the users’ hands and try a ring.

Users can take pictures of the ring placed on their hands and can share it on Instagram and Pinterest.

It also lets shoppers purchase their favored ring and have it shipped directly to them straight from the app.

Crocs

This is a very innovative app that tracks the AR tracker on the shoe cardboard box, by scanning over which the product (shoe) within augments in front of the user’s camera screen. It also overlays product information.

Such an idea of having digital info encoded into a product’s packaging has many useful applications across industries.

Airwalk

A very initial boost up by the AR tech was a marketing strategy by the Airwalk footwear brand partnered with GoldRun, which had created invisible Airwalk stores in specific public locations and users with the particular AR app could see through their camera and make a purchase from the store.

The app created tremendous hype and a boost resulted in its sales and some of the exclusive products were sold out.

Gap Dressing Room

The Gap brand and Google have together built an AR app that helps users choose the right fit for their body. It works for both men and clothes and on the selection of a product, it avails several options like 360-degree view and side-by-side comparison.

AR Based eCommerce development

Why every brand is running behind AR, what is their benefit?


Summing up, the straightforward reasons for companies to choose Augmented retail for retail industry are the following

  • Quick Decision Making: Eyes believe before the ears do. Yes, the customers can make quick decisions by looking at the fabulous interactive display of the augmented truth. This enables retailers like you -better and easier sales.
  • Increase in sales numbers: By now, it has been proven that AR and VR boost a brand’s sales tremendously.
  • Competitive Pressure: Almost everyone is using it because their competitors are using it. Nobody wants to be left out, and especially not technologically because if you don’t keep up with the technology, it is surely going to leave you behind.
  • Better customer experience: How can you forget that Customer is God, so make his experience everlasting and unforgettable. AR does this for your Gods.
  • Saves Cost: As AR does all the work more efficiently and speedily than your in-store personnel, why would you hire a huge number of store staff? It helps you increase your sales and reduce manpower.
  • This is a new form of advertisement and promotion that customers are going crazy for.

The Power Lies In Your Hands.

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Challenges In Adopting The Augmented Reality in Retail Industry


Well, looking at the sunny side, we must not forget the heavyweight that AR comes along with.

Creativity in concept

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If you think that you can win over the market just by incorporating Augmented reality in the retail store’s shopping experience, that can not be said for sure.
AR is not new, consumers know what it is and what potential the technology holds; so, your AR concept should be new, unique, and creative to work in favor for you.
You can not simply copy what your competitors are doing with AR in Retail.
For AR technology to work for you, it should be consistent on these 3 factors:

  • It must create some value for your customers
  • It should be engaging and interactive
  • Your customers should feel special with the personalized experience they get.

Development

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Developing a custom AR app or feature in your retail business might not as easy as it sounds.
You can not simply take someone’s idea and put it in your business. It has to be accurate for your business-type so that your customers get an enjoyable experience.
AR works wonders only if it doesn’t face any hindrances while playing.

Internet speed and latency

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For your AR app to be a success, it has to be glitches-free. Internet speed plays a huge factor in the smooth functioning of your app.
Thus, you should make sure that your store is strongly connected with high-speed internet to support your in-store AR element.

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