augmented-reality-for-retail

Using Augmented Reality in Retail

Bengü Muradoğlu Article

Retail is a highly competitive sector where every business tries to get new customers and hold the existing ones as much as possible. Thanks to the rising technology and increase of communication channels, retailers can find newer and better ways to attract customers and go beyond the traditional. One of these ways is Augmented Reality (AR), and it is getting more and more popular each day. It is a relatively new technology and definitely beyond what we are used to, although it is already an attractive way used in retail marketing. Retailers use AR to give their customers better shopping experiences and aid them in their buying decisions by better, more intimate, and in-depth viewing of products.

How can we use AR in Retail?

With the evolution of Augmented and Virtual Reality (VR) and the 5G mobile networks, user experience is also evolving, and the expectations are getting higher. Examples like Snapchat filters and the game Pokémon Go going viral shows us how these new and trending technologies can deeply penetrate our daily lives and influence our opinions. Retailers are aware of this impact and adopted AR into their businesses to make marketing more effective than using traditional billboards or sharing online photos and videos. This contemporary approach provides a unique and more memorable experience to their customers hence increases their willingness
to buy.

In retail, AR acts as a bridge between the online and offline world and allows users to be more interactive in their buying process. It links the consumers and brands in an innovative and enriched way. Retailers can benefit from this experience not only by the marketing in their physical shops but also from their online presence since consumers can easily engage with AR-based retail from their PC at home or mobile devices that they carry everywhere. AR is an easy, fun, and helpful technology that
can be used without any special equipment or training, and it offers shoppers a better buying experience and greater satisfaction. Here is a few examples of the use of AR in the retail industry:

Apparel, Accessories, and Shoes

Apparel is one of the most extensive sectors of the retail industry. From the high-end customers to the low-end, there is a wide selection of people who shop for clothes. Some of the businesses in this sector use AR to lead this big group of prospects. A very simple yet attractive way they use AR is to turn their displaying window into a virtual mirror that lets customers try on different clothes and accessories without undressing and even entering the shops. Like clothing, shoe companies are also adopting AR to enable their customers to try out different designs, colors, and sizes digitally.

Grocery and Home Goods

In large retail stores, especially in supermarkets where people often lose their directions, using AR can be an efficient solution. With using AR-based maps in these large scale shops or malls, shoppers can find their ways easily without feeling lost. Some stores offer more than just maps and add extra features to their AR apps that let you see if the product you are looking for is finished, if there is a discount or promotion, and compare the goods.

Furniture and Decoration

Large scale furniture companies were one of the firsts to adopt AR in their marketing. They started with apps for scanning their catalogs to see more information about the products. Now the apps are so advanced that you can put a digital copy of any furniture you want to buy into your house and see if it fits properly, or if it goes well with the color of your walls when it is assembled. And if you decide to change the color of your walls, there is even an app for that. Some color companies offer AR app solutions where you can hold your phone towards your wall and see different color options just like it was painted before even buying them.

Automotive and Electronics

The automotive sector is using AR to let customers try out the cars and new features before deciding on the model and enhances the buying experiences. Retailers can take advantage of limitless digital inventory without worrying about the stock they have at the time. With one swipe on their phone screens, different color schemes can be projected onto the cars and give customers more choices while providing retailers more space and reducing the costs.

Makeup, Jewelry and Beauty Industry

We can understand how big the makeup sector is by looking at view counts on YouTube videos and their growing audience. To meet the needs of their customers, makeup companies have to find more effective ways for marketing. AR is one of the most effective and entertaining ways to try on makeup because sometimes it just does not look good like it looks on the model. AR apps let the customers try products virtually, read reviews, see related items, and even show them off or get reviews by taking photos and sharing them on social media.

Why should we use AR in retail?

According to statistics, using AR in retail is highly practical and profitable. It gives customers more opportunities in the process of buying, such as more in-depth information, easier ways to try on, and more entertaining experiences. Trying and testing out products is easier because the digital copies can be used instead of the real, physical ones, and it cuts down the time and effort spent. Allowing shoppers to make better decisions and have a smoother buying process in this way increases user satisfaction and decreases the return rates.

By using AR-based apps in retail, shoppers can benefit both from the online and offline world of shopping. They can shop online easily from their smartphones but have offline shop characteristics like trying on and viewing the real size of a product. Undoubtedly AR is a beneficial technology both for sellers and buyers in retail, and we will see a lot more of it in this highly competitive, user experience based industry.