Benefits of using AR in the retail industry & how it helps boost Sale on eCommerce platforms
Customer experience-enhancing technologies are rapidly adopted by two industries in particular- the retail and e-commerce industries. Any technology that can positively impact the customer experience will be readily adopted by these two sectors to sell products.
E-commerce buyers are denied the ability to touch and feel the product, while brick and mortar stores allow that luxury, without having customers actually experience the product.
Augmented reality is one technology that aims to solve both these concerns. Augmented reality allows us to superimpose digital information on top of the physical or the ‘real’ environment. By doing so, we can alter our experience of that information, creating an immersive environment to help us feel the product and visualize it as we would use it.
Augmented reality experiences happen through your smartphone glass, your computer screen, or even through special AR glasses such as the Google Glass. The combined AR/VR market was evaluated at USD 26.7 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach USD 814.7 billion by 2025.
Pokemon Go is the more memorable and recent obsession created by AR that we can all relate to. Beyond gaming and entertainment, let’s see how AR can enhance the customer experience for e-commerce and retail buyers.
Real-world Use Cases of Augmented Reality in Retail and E-commerce
Augmented reality can help businesses allow their customers to visualize products in the context of their personal physical space. E-commerce purchases often come with the ambiguity of how the product might look in a customer’s space.
Home furnishing major IKEA recently implemented this concept in the form of the IKEA Place app. The mobile app helps shoppers visualize how a piece of furniture might look in their home or office setting. The customers can change the product, its color, or size, and see how well it might complement their room’s decor. Similarly, Lacoste lets you try on shoes, Shop 4 Rings allows you to try on jewelry pieces, and so on.
Personalization is a major business differentiator these days. Any company in the retail sector that can tailor each customer’s experience to their liking will win more customers and their loyalty. AR can help companies monetize on this battleground of personalization.
AR can let customers try on products and collect, save, and analyze that information to make ultra-informed purchase decisions within an immersive, individualized environment. Sephora’s Virtual Artist app does this for online beauty buyers.
Users can try out lip shades, eyeshadow, cheek colors, and more to see what looks good and better on them. The virtual experience is an enhancement over the real one where it’s an endless hassle for shoppers to try on various products on their faces until they find those that are the best fits.
Enhanced Shopping Experience
Gamifying the shopping experience enhances it. Users have fun trying out new looks and products, and they love engaging with the content surrounding these gamification practices. Consider Topshop fashion retailer– a brand that became the first one to introduce AR dressing rooms where you can try out clothing virtually.
Moreover, the virtual room allows you to control the experience with gestures- wave hands and click on buttons in the air. You can also see both the front and back of the clothing on a 3D AR-based screen. An enhanced shopping experience allows customers to have fun while associating your brand with customer-centricity.
Benefits of Augmented Reality for Buyers and Companies in the Retail Space
Augmented reality can help enhance shopping experiences be physical or digital. The idea of selling products in the context in which they might get used is a significant value for AR in B2B sales. For instance, consider seeing a tractor in a construction site, medical equipment arranged in an operating room, or a conveyor belt right in your manufacturing plant.
Here are a few benefits of AR for businesses as well as customers:
- AR can eliminate barriers of geography and capital by creating a virtual experience that can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection from any part of the world. This can make AR experiences precede physical or digital ones.
- AR-led experiences can become the pathway for higher customer satisfaction as retail customers look for more engaging, fun, and unique experiences.
- Augmented reality can help e-commerce businesses leverage the power of a physical store, without investing a lot in the real estate, setting up, infrastructure costs, and so on.
- As AR attempts to gamify shopping experiences, it can lead to higher customer engagement and brand loyalty.
- AR can enable salespeople to simplify the process of selling in a B2B setting, eliminating the need for them to carry heavy products, sales material, and other content around.
- B2B companies can even use augmented reality to bring all the features of a product to life. AR can change how companies demo products and demonstrate how every feature of their offering fits into an organization’s needs.
- While augmented reality has the obvious benefits for sales teams, it also positively impacts the tasks pertaining to marketing and IT.
- In an overcrowded market, offering an AI-enabled experience can give your business the differentiated image it needs.
The Future of Augmented Reality in Retail and E-commerce
ABI Research predicts that by 2022, over 120,000 stores will leverage augmented reality globally, and the technology will influence 3 percent of e-commerce revenue by 2020.
Early adoption is happening in the retail and e-commerce industries for augmented reality. As initial investments see exponential results, companies will leverage the technology to stand out from the crowd through engaging, connected, and immersive sales experiences.
Retailers can use AR to create virtually enhanced versions of their brick-and-mortar store or take their offline store to a whole new level by offering a fabricated environment that offers higher value in terms of personalization and visualization.
An AR-based experience can quickly respond to the fluctuations in customer demands and stay relevant to what customers need now.
If you are keen on trying out the technology for your business or learning what it might imply for you, talk to one of our AR specialists today!