How Augmented Reality Is Transforming the Retail Experience

The retail industry has survived and will continue to do so because humans are the ultimate consumers. And yet retailers have to adapt to the advancing technologies or get left behind. Amazon was one of the first online retailers that took the world by storm, and other retailers followed in their footsteps. That was back in 1991. Even then, retailers adapted and developed skills to run online businesses. A majority of retail companies already have a fully functional website, and yet, there will always be a need for a better system and strategies.

AR tech is slowly sneaking its way into retail marketing campaigns. And so far, it has worked wonders.  It is changing the entire landscape of the retail industry, catering to the customers’ needs and providing the ultimate luxury with the help of AR.

How Augmented Reality has overcome the hurdles of the traditional Retail Experience:

1. Live product launches:

The pandemic took away the opportunities for in-person events but gave entrepreneurs, marketers, and influencers the chance to explore the much-awaited Augmented reality technology. OnePlus is one brand that made the most of the opportunity. They pulled out all stops in the marketing, and it was very much well worth the effort.

OnePlus Nord was launched in the world’s first-ever AR launch event. They sent Personal invites to some guest and other has to purchase these invites in order to participate in the launch event. The invitees came with a placeholder that had a QR code. After scanning the code, guests were taken to the website, where users were asked to provide camera access. Guests used their smartphone scanners to turn the placeholder into OnePlus Nord on the Augmented reality front.

We have shared an image of the invites. The following image has two placeholders with QR codes. The website overlays the image of OnePlus Nord on the placeholder.

The screen then presented users with a link to download the One Plus NORD AR app from the Apple app store or android google play store.

So, once the guests opened the app, they got to experience the invite in AR. On the launch date, 21st July 2020, everyone with an invite was present at the world’s first successful Augmented Reality Product launch.

2. Brand Awareness:

We have already seen an example of a good marketing campaign that can spread brand awareness. OnePlus was already touted as a leading mobile brand, the AR launch event got people curious, and their curiosity was a reward for Oneplus.

Organisations can use the same marketing strategy to get noticed and reach a wider audience. As the technology is fairly new, it is less-used and therefore still a novelty that will prove to be the bait to catch attention. While traditional marketing isn’t anything to scoff at, they have certain limitations, such as a smaller reach and time constraints. Furthermore, if organisations tried to use traditional marketing for a wider audience, the campaign prices increased.

AR filters/effects are an affordable marketing avenue compared to the traditional means and VR tech. And therefore suitable for spreading brand awareness, even with budget issues.

3. Virtual Tryout: (Mirrors)

What is an AR mirror? It is exactly what the name suggests, a mirror with AR technology. A stellar example of this could be Makeup shopping. We are all quite familiar with the AR filters used in make-up shopping on our smartphones. AR Mirrors are such devices arranged as mirrors in make-up stores. People do not have to try on lip colours physically. They can try various shades on the mirror by swiping through the available options.

The same can be done with clothes or eyeglasses. These mirrors not only save customers’ time but also help the retailers sell more products.

Retail Statistics To Shed Light on How AR can help a business grow:
  • Although 52% of retailers aren’t yet ready for integrating AR into their businesses, $18.8B were spent on AR and VR tech in 2020.
  • Consumers will always be interested in customization and convenience. 40% of consumers say that they would pay more for having the opportunity to customize their products in AR.
  • Advertisers are getting on the AR trend, and around 67% are making more use of the technology in their campaigns.
  • Usually, consumers need more time to get used to new technology, but they have adopted AR quite readily. 70% of these consumers fall within the age bracket of 16-44 years of age.
  • By 2024, the estimated Augmented Reality Market Value will amount to $50B.
  • Around 71% of consumers have claimed that they would shop more with AR shopping.
  • 61 % of Consumers have also shown a preference towards shopping with retailers who provide the AR experience.
  • Retailers have experienced 40% higher conversion rates after implementing AR. And 16% of retailers have confirmed that they have used AR for selling their products.
Benefits To Customers and Retailers:
  • By adding AR to the mix, retailers can provide consumers with a better experience. It creates deeper engagement, adds more personalization, and makes communications better.
  • Retailers have experienced an increase in brand loyalty and sales by integrating AR. AR changes the game by providing customers with an interactive and engaging way to try on or view the physical products.
  • Retailers can provide consumers with a convenient way to customize products.
  • Online businesses have more or less taken over the world. AR provides offline stores with an opportunity to go toe to toe with them and come out as a winner.
  • Consumers get convenience, customized products, and the right fit for their needs. It is also a time-saving experience.
Examples Of AR in Retail:

The paint company Dulux has designed an app called the Dulux Visualizer App. It uses AR tech in a very innovative manner. After installing the app, people can use their phone camera to try one of the 1200 colours on the walls. Dulux took the time to understand their consumers’ needs. Therefore they came up with an app that will not only assist consumers in picking a colour scheme. It will also make them order that paint from their company.

  • Topshop:

A majority of AR real-world applications today come in the form of smartphone apps, but Topshop went for the big guns. They implemented an early rendition of an AR mirror, which allowed customers to try on clothes quickly. Customers were initially attracted because of the novelty but later came to appreciate the technology.

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