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How augmented reality is reshaping the retail sector

AR investment in retail will be close to 30 Bn USD by 2020

Augmented Reality along with Virtual Reality is redefining how consumers shop. It gives an opportunity to the consumers to experience products in the comfort of their homes. Imagine trying a shirt or experiencing furniture without even going to the store.

In years to come, customers would be able to feel the products using Augmented Reality Applications. This technology eliminates the customer pain points and elevate the customer satisfaction and service by creating a customized and personalized user experience. Successful incorporation of AR into retail industry has the power to revolutionize the stores of the future.

Augmented Reality is the integration of the graphic content into user environment. AR apps for smartphones and tablets analyzes web camera and/or GOS data to provide users with the related content. The number of AR users by 2018 is expected to reach 200 million. It is even projected that AR investment in retail will be close to 30 Bn USD by 2020. With such huge impacts, Augmented Reality Solutions can impact the retail industry in following ways:

  • Navigation
    There are numerous augmented reality applications are used by shops and restaurants. One of the examples is of Yihaodian – the largest online grocery store in China. It has built over 1000 virtual shops which are visible only to those who have downloaded the AR mobile application. An AR strategy was implemented by Tokyo Aquarium by integrating cute penguins into smartphones that help visitors navigate through the Penguin Navi App.
  • Delighted Customer Experience
    Over 30% of e-commerce purchases are returned. Most of the customers struggle to find the right product for themselves and most often than not the process is tricky. Now brands are coming forward to aid their customers make the right decision. Lego had introduced AR kiosks to showcase what a model would look like when completed. A similar application was even launched by Converse – The Shoe Sampler App. Designed for iOS it allowed users to virtually try them and make the purchase.
  • Efficient E-commerce
    The most successful augmented reality application was developed by IKEA and DeBeers. While IKEA lets users browse pictures from their website catalogue and integrate the virtual furniture items to showcase how it would look like in the user’s environment; DeBeers allowed customers to try jewelry by projecting jewelry on the phone screen. In order to boost user engagement and boost publicity, this kind of AR based e-commerce applications are integrated with the social media buttons.

Like ‘IoT’, Augmented Reality is also changing the dynamics of the retail industry. This in no way means the traditional marketing is dead. But, providing customers with up-to-date information, content, bonuses, special offers and packages are now not enough. What makes Augmented Reality based solutions appealing is that it gives an opportunity to seamlessly interact with the digital data and receive immediate feedback.

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