The old-fashioned way of retail business involved customers interacting directly with products. Indeed, this is beneficial for a business, however with the advent of Internet 2.0, most businesses opted to go online.
However, in lieu of recent events, the COVID-19 pandemic has further directed online retailers to Augmented Reality or AR. These unprecedented times have brought a sharp twist, changing all online retail projections.
In this feature, we’ll look at the benefits of augmented reality in retail, its impact and the role it plays in the retail industry.
Benefits of Augmented Reality in Retail
Augmented Reality (AR) combined with its counterpart Virtual Reality (VR) has emerged as Xtended Reality (XR). However, even individually, they have managed to fascinate the audiences. Exploring various industries, Augmented reality has found rising stakes in retail.
Talking about online retail, Augmented Reality adds an element of fun to shopping. Consumers not only get fully entertained with an immersive experience but are also converted into buyers.
AR has the ability to simulate realistic scenarios. It is one of the key factors that makes its growth seamless.
Some other benefits of Augmented Reality(AR) are listed below:
1) Brand/Product Exposure and Marketing
AR was popularised a few years back in the gaming platform with the successful launch of Pokemon Go. Ever since the retail industry spared no efforts in incorporating it. AR has been successful in brand and/or product exposure.
By embracing AR, you set the stage for competing against giant retail companies. This business approach will make you attractive to the millennial generation if not lucrative.
In marketing, AR technology has proven itself an excellent tool for marketing. Branding campaigns that incorporate AR immersive ads engage the consumers, sparking up their interests. Retail owners can use this ability to create a brand that is unique and one which converts leads.
2) Easy In-Store Navigation
AR’s engaging consumer experience has forced retailers to make their online stores smarter. An in-store AR navigation helps users navigate within stores. It also suggests optimized routes to their desired products.
By simply selecting catalogued objects, users are directed via directional prompts to the needed shop section.
3) Furniture and Home Appliances Shopping made Easier
Augmented Reality has played a vital role in improving the sales for electronics, home appliances and other heavy stuff like your furniture.
Consumers no longer have to trot down to the stores with tape measures to ensure the right product for their space. AR enables the consumer to virtually place a product on the selected space.
Additionally they can have a feel at its visual aesthetics in terms of colour and material.
4) Reduced Product Returns
The traditional concept of try-before-buy has indeed been transformed. 2019 had touched a huge 100 million figure for the people who used try-before-buy via augmented reality.
Imagine an apparel store that scans your body size to the right inches and selects a product for you. Not only this, it then also overlays it over your body.
Since you are trying a product in its essence and it already fits you perfectly, you are only left with the choice of visual appeal and colour. Visual representation of products without the scaling problems enables shoppers to judge the product more accurately in terms of its specifications/dimensions.
In the end they are satisfied with their purchase and there is reduced friction. As a result, the store owner rarely experiences product returns and complaints.
5) Stronger Competitive Edge
As mentioned earlier, the retail industry’s shift from traditional in-store to online shopping brought with it some competition. However, with AR, a successful online consumer experience is assured.
With most retailers having both online and offline operations, either one has different appeals. AR brings forth the best aspects of online retail operations like deeper consumer engagement, satisfaction and fluid communications.
The demand for convenience and customization has seen the online segment gaining a competitive advantage over its brick-and-mortar counterpart.
Moreover, not only will AR become a leader in the retail industry, but also in the fashion industry where consumers will “try out” virtually the items before making a purchase.
Role of AR in the Retail Industry?
Since 2018, AR’s involvement in the retail industry predictions showed positive inclination and at the moment its capacity has grown tenfold. How AR could help your business grow is not a rocket science any more.
Currently, the retail industry is a leading industrial segment playing an important role in holding up the global economy.
In addition, the incorporation of AR in various industries and its success speaks out for itself. For instance, AR in healthcare and education have seen positive development. Hence the retail industry and its ensuing success is evident.
Online retailers need to understand that most consumers desire product customization as well as extensive product information. Leading to the fact that consumers are likely to make purchases if their shopping experience is more interactive.
Thus, with the implementation of AR, overall customer success becomes more simplified and customized with ease.
In boosting ROI, AR’s role is something to marvel. Being a versatile and dynamic technology, an e-commerce retailer who incorporates AR definitely earns a much higher ROI in comparison to the others who are yet to integrate it.
Considering AR solutions are relatively easy to learn and seamless to use, it’ll work well with retail business. However it will retain the number one feature of consumerism – finding solutions to critical consumer problems.
Impact of AR in Retail Industry
Without a doubt, the retail industry is experiencing changes exponentially. Consumers are becoming aggressive in their demands for quality products and services.
To keep the consumers engaged, 67% of the media agencies want to incorporate more of Augmented Reality ads as compared to VR in their digital marketing campaigns.
On this note, we are presenting the points on how AR can impact your business in the Retail industry.
1) Enhanced Business Engagement
On the other hand, retailers are fiercely battling to grab the maximum share of their consumer’s wallets. AR technology has significantly enhanced business effectiveness, consumer engagements and lead generations.
Augmented reality (AR) is indeed taking off in the retail sector, gearing towards transforming the consumer shopping experience. AR is seemingly becoming a part of everyday life for smartphone users.
Several brands have adopted the technology and it is now clear that it is trending among shoppers. Therefore, as a retail owner, having this option will benefit you largely.
2) Gives an Immersive Experience
Consumers who use AR in shopping, employ it to gauge product differences, variations in product colour and hues. It also enables them to have a 360° view of the products, checking the angles. Users also use AR to find out more information about the product, more so technical details about certain products that require close inspection like automotives and mechanical devices.
Furthermore, retailers have reported a significant change in consumer behaviour and this can be attributed to AR use. As an option, AR implores consumers to shop more often since it is an exciting experience and fun feature.
3) Brand Loyalty
AR technology blends both physical and virtual shopping in a way that the consumer is provided a unique experience never before felt. A completely unique and satisfying experience means that sales will be boosted and brands can easily gain loyalty from consumers.
Online retailers have also noticed that shoppers would even pay more for a product simply because they are able to test it beforehand. In relation, having an AR-equipped store, has seen consumers make impulse buying decisions merely due to the fact that they enjoyed the experience.
This notion alone should drive you to incorporate AR as an improvement to your online store.
4) Data Collection
Furthermore, another advantage of AR roll-out is the fact that retailers are able to collect vast data on consumer brand interaction.
The consumer on the other hand, gets to enjoy an immersive experience as well as responsive customer communication. He/she will also become enlightened and foster brand loyalty.
5) User Experience
By overlaying virtual objects onto existing environments, consumers interact with real-world products digitally.
Consumer online sales experience is enhanced, personalised and made more comfortable. AR enables consumers to “see” the product virtually and moreover, view it in its actual size. Quite a step up from the images that are drawn to scale.
The consumer is thus saved from attempting to estimate the product’s size which is a defining factor, more so when purchasing clothing items. Aside from benefiting the consumer, the retailer also enjoys product exposure as well as reduced returns.
The Augmented Reality industry is steadily growing in colossal leaps and strides. Technological experts further predict its value to reach and even exceed $61.4 billion by the end of the decade.
AR has been incorporated into various industries like education, healthcare, entertainment and gaming, digital marketing, and the retail industry. Sources suggest the retail industry has 32% of consumers who are regular AR users while 73% of those are content with their AR-retail experience.
As a parting shot, technology is a dynamic industry that is ever advancing forward and furthermore. Consumers are ever changing with their demands. One thing for sure is that AR has set a stage that seemingly was unbeknownst a decade ago, for revenue increment and lowered business operation cost.
We hope this piece of content would have helped you get a better idea of how important AR is becoming for your retail store with every passing day.
Would you like to get ahead of your competition with this amazing technology. Get in touch with us to get AR implemented for your retail business.