Augmented reality is a testament to this statement since it’s nothing short of magical. Technology has evolved to the point where we can now see something that’s not even there! Not just view but also interact with it. That is the magic of Augmented reality. Augmented reality in retail stores has transformed this magic into pure customer delight and is winning hearts the world over.
Why Augmented reality in retail stores?
Augmented reality was just a vision a few years ago but has since become a reality. More and more consumers are becoming aware of AR and actively want to experience the magic it brings. 75-80% of consumers prefer to shop in stores that have implemented augmented reality in retail customer engagement. Needless to say, the number will only rise in the coming future. About 1/3rd of customers who experienced augmented reality in the retail store are more likely to buy.
With consumers becoming more tech-savvy, it is only a matter of time before they demand AR in every store. Thus, smart retailers have already started the shift to augmented and virtual reality to satisfy/delight the early adopters while continually improving and perfecting the experience to suit the needs of the future.
Augmented reality in retail is a game changer. Thus, it’s essential for you to change along with the game, or you’ll soon be forgotten.
6 ways to use augmented reality in retail
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can implement Augmented reality in your retail store. We’ll also see some augmented reality examples of how some retailers are paving the way for the future with AR.
There are 2 use cases augmented reality in retail:
- Augmented reality mobile apps.
- Augmented reality kiosks or equipment in-store.
AR mobile apps:
Mobile applications are especially useful for when customers prefer to browse products from their homes before buying. The best augmented reality apps aren’t necessarily the ones with high tech features. Instead, they are the ones which are accessible and enjoyable to use with least effort.
Create a mobile app that customers can download and use in their homes. It’s a relatively cheap way to get started with AR for your retail store. Make the app enjoyable by adding features that will allow customers to seamlessly share their photos or videos when using the app.
Augmented reality has thus enabled customers to experience the look and feel of the product right from the comfort of their homes. Here are a few examples of retailers using Augmented reality apps for their stores.
1. IKEA Place
The US furniture giant recently launched an AR mobile app in the US. The app allows potential customers to place a virtual image of the furniture anywhere in their house. Thus, it will enable them to judge whether a piece of furniture is a good fit for their home right from the comfort of their couch.
2. Converse shoes
Converse has released an app that allows the user to “try out” shoes using augmented reality. The user just points their smartphone camera at their feet and the shoes they selected, magically appear on their feet. The app was a big hit since it allowed users to try out shoes without having to remove their footwear.
3. De Beers
They made an Augmented reality app that allowed customers to try out virtual jewelry. The customer visits De Beers’ website and prints out their jewelry designs in paper. They then hold the paper cut-out in front of the face, and the app transforms the print-out into virtual jewelry that you can wear, take pictures of and share on social media.
Augmented reality kiosks and equipment in-store
The number one reason for customers to visit brick and mortar stores is customer experience. Thus, Augmented reality in retail is a giant step in the right direction for retailers. Not only does it make things easier for your customer, but it also has a WOW- factor that’s hard to forget. It is currently the pinnacle of excellent customer experience in retail stores.
Suggested read: 8 ways to improve customer experience in retail stores
Set up AR kiosks or equipment that customers can use to try out items. It helps to place the technology where everyone can have access to it. Customers tend to have a lot of fun using and watching others use the AR technology. Thus, it dramatically improves the customers’ experience and results in more sales.
Here are a few retailers who provide an exciting experience for customers through in-store AR technology:
Timberland made great use of augmented reality in their retail store and took accessibility to another level. They made the technology available even to people who were not inside their store! This meant that customers who were just passing by could virtually try out clothes from the window the store where the AR screen is placed.
This succeeded in getting more customers into the store while still improving the experience of those already inside.
Shiseido, the Japanese cosmetics retailer, has implemented augmented reality in their retail store in the form of a “magic mirror” .
Customers sit in front of the mirror, snap a picture of themselves and watch the magic happen. They can choose different styles of makeup and virtually apply them to their face within seconds. This saves a lot of time since it eliminates the tedious process of putting on and removing makeup physically.
Perhaps one of the best uses of augmented reality the retail world has ever seen. Yihaodian is a virtual grocery supermarket with over thousand virtual shops set up all over China. The customers use their mobile apps to find the nearest virtual store and the app will guide them through virtual aisles to the item they want to buy. The customers just click on the items shown on the screen to buy it and the item/items will be delivered to their homes.
The use of augmented reality in retail by the retailers mentioned in this list is quite inspiring. They are the ones who look toward the future and make changes in the present. That is the secret of their success. They dare to do something different to enhance the customer experience and thus delight them in every possible way.
Do you have any more such examples of a retailer using augmented reality to enhance shopping experience? Leave them in the comments below.
For more great uses of technology in retail, read How to leverage recent retail technology?