Augmented reality shopping – how technology influences retail?
Augmented reality is increasingly breaking through in everyday communication. No longer as a curiosity, but a technology that will transform the way we live. There are already AR apps on the market that help you change the room's decoration or adjust furniture. If you think only of IKEA's solution, it's not the only one.
Can augmented reality affect the way sales are made in industries other than furniture?
The answer is yes. It's only a matter of time when augmented reality will go hand to hand with the sale of clothing, cars, or electronics.
AR – what is it?
Augmented reality (AR), is a technology that combines the virtual and real worlds. Users can see elements of the virtual world embedded in reality. They use a smartphone, glasses, or lenses to enter the AR world. This type of synchronization can take place:
- in real time,
- including geolocation,
- in relation to other users.
Perhaps the most popular example of AR implementation on a massive scale was the Pokemon Go game. Players search for fairy tale creatures that appear in real world locations and real world environments. All this using a smartphone with a camera.
Augmented reality in retail
In an era of hyperpersonalization, augmented reality is emerging as the perfect answer to this trend. So far, solutions using AR have proven to have an impact on a variety of factors that drive sales.
Improved user experience
AR applications provide a sense of personal interaction with a product. They provide more information than a promotional brochure or website description, and allow you to visualize the product from your home chair. That's the end of worrying about the availability of a selected model or size, everything can be viewed in AR.
Augmented reality brings an end to mispurchases, mis-matched colors, or sizes. This translates directly into fewer returns of products, resulting in lower logistics and warehousing costs.
Increased customer engagement
Increasing customer engagement in brand interactions is one of the key roles of the marketing and sales teams. AR applications ignite customer interest and provide them with essential product information. It is a simultaneous process of engaging and educating customers.
Education about the product
While some products are well known and recognized by customers, taking care to educate about the proposed items is crucial in every case. Educating the customer is not only about providing technical information about the product, but also about the history of the brand or a particular model.
Today a red dress is available in many places, but a red dress created according to a design worn by a famous actress at a grand gala takes on a completely different meaning. AR applications are a good way to provide all the necessary information about a product.
Accelerated purchase decisions
Reducing the time to educate about a product and increasing engagement in brand interactions are two factors that influence the speed and frequency of purchase decisions. Well-educated customers do not have to wonder whether this product will meet their expectations. A high engagement rate is a guarantee of frequent returns to the purchase process.
More data on customer preferences
If you are not convinced of the value of augmented reality by the above-mentioned indicators, I have something else for you. AR applications are a great way to collect information about user preferences. They will make your offer even more relevant to your audience, and this will result directly in sales.
AR applications are not a future story. Many are already being tested in stores, and some have already been in action interacting with customers for several years.
Augmented reality has already entered the world of interior design in good standing. AR applications available in the industry allow you to:
- check the color of the walls in a room,
- redecorate and add new design elements,
- virtually walk through newly designed interiors.
The availability of AR apps allows not only to try on clothes from home. It's also the ability to try on entire sets both through one's own smartphone and through screen-mirrors placed in stores.
It's a kind of fitting room that allows you to select and check specific models of clothing even though they are not available in the store.
AR apps in clothing stores can also provide additional information about products. All you need is an app and a phone to find out everything about a certain product.
Choosing a hairstyle or hair color leaves no space for mistakes. That's why augmented reality has been so well accepted in this industry. Visualizing your own face with a completely changed hairstyle allows you to make the right decision before the service is performed.
The case is similar with cosmetics. Choosing the right colors of shadow or foundation can be done before visiting the store. Visualization on the customer's face allows them to choose the best option. What's more, apps are already able to suggest the most accurate choice of colors to speed up the decision-making process as much as possible.
Augmented reality shopping – summary
Technologies that combine virtual and real worlds are already influencing and developing businesses. Those who first recognized the possibilities of it are not only already benefiting from its functionality, but have also made a reputation as innovative companies. AR technology leaves no time to waste for those who are still considering whether its implementation makes sense.