Augmented Reality in Retail: The Future of Shopping

Over the past few months, it’s become clear that the future of retail will be largely taking place online, and fast! Consumers have become even more accustomed to easily shopping for items on their devices and due to the pandemic, fewer customers are willing to visit a brick and mortar store in person. Changing consumer habits combined with incredible advancements in technology have changed the name of the game for retailers, and staying ahead of the curve means investing in augmented reality (AR).

 Here’s how augmented reality is changing the face of retail (and quicker than we think).

What Purpose Does Augmented Reality Serve in Retail?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details of how augmented reality is impacting the retail landscape, it’s important to first define what exactly it is. Augmented reality is an advanced form of technology that is capable of overlaying digitally created content into a user’s real-world environment.

When augmented reality is used for retail purposes, it is referred to as augmented shopping, which is a digital experience that allows customers to engage with products. With augmented shopping, customers are able to try on, try out, personalize, and interact with products virtually.

Which Retailers Can Benefit from Augmented Reality?

Retailers with highly standardized product sets that can be easily customized have already shown promising results in their augmented shopping endeavours. Here are some product categories that have benefited from AR technology being deployed:

  • Automotive: Car dealerships don’t have the space to showcase their full range of products, which is a problem that AR sales experiences can fix. Toyota has already reaped the benefits of a highly engaging online vehicle experience with its immersive AR technology that brings virtual vehicles to customers when they click on a banner ad.
  • Furniture: Retailers in the furniture realm were among the first to experience the benefits of AR. With accurate renderings of the colour, size, and fit of products in a space, it’s now possible for customers to access realistic “try-before-you-buy” visual experiences that help them feel more confident in their purchasing decisions. This has led to increased conversions for early adopters like Wayfair.
  • Makeup: Even though makeup brands have faced colour matching and facial recognition challenges with AR technology, numerous retailers have still experienced promising results. L’Oréal has seen its website engagement double and conversion rates triple since launching its AR makeup experience in 2019.
  • Shoes: Retailers in the shoe space are working hard to improve their virtual try-on experiences and honing in on the popularity of personalization capabilities. As the shoe brand Airwalk has come to learn, AR can also be used to build brand awareness. Airwalk was able to bring in $5 million in earned media by using geolocation and AR to create an “invisible” pop-up shop.

Why The Time to Get Started is Now

Evidently, augmented shopping has tangible benefits that can help retailers’ bottom lines. While investing in emerging technology may be risky for some retailers during this uncertain time, the rapid development of this technology and return on investment early adopters have experienced make it more of a necessity than a novelty. The future of shopping is here, and there’s a good chance that those who aren’t a part of it will get left behind for good.

At Arnold Street Media, Inc., we’ve got our finger on the pulse of emerging AR technologies and have worked closely with retailers who have implemented these shopping solutions into their organizations. Contact us today and let us help you get the word out!