The future of Retail with Augmented Reality

Let’s admit it, our imaginations all need a little help

It wasn’t going to take too long for augmented reality and retail to have their worlds collide in such spectacular fashion. What with consumers being heavily desensitised over the years via traditional marketing methods, technology has come barging in with augmented reality this time, combining the familiar brick and mortar format with the digital ones in an audacious bid to ensnare the attention of consumers all over.

Phones in this modern day and age possess pretty capable GPS receivers, compasses and accelerometers that enables one to know its exact location and what they are looking at. There have been apps that have taken this novel idea on board by showing people information about their surroundings and the relevant businesses nearby. In this instance, what retailers specifically do is combine augmented reality with localized SEO, so that they can obtain reach to consumers that they wouldn’t have been able to before. If someone was urgently looking for a pair of shoes perhaps, they could use this particular feature to point them towards stores that carry the shoes of their preference and even provide a catalogue for them to browse so that they can make up their minds better. The benefits for the retailer are in that they will be matched with relevant customers that already know what they want and are most likely going to get it there and then. Through the app, they can push out information about what else is in store (pun intended) for them, and they can read up on customer reviews too.

Topshop x Kinect

Fashion retailing giant took it upon themselves to pave the way for this novel method of shopping by partnering with Kinect to create AR dressing rooms. Unlike traditional trial and error, this allowed potential customers to get through their choice articles of clothing in a very short amount of time and in the most efficient manner possible. Topshop took this experiment further at London Fashion Week, which turned out to be a great hit.

American Apparel

Well known for their array of colourful product collections, American Apparel decided to take on Augmented Reality to make it incredibly easier for customers to make decisions on colour, without having to physically try every single one on.

Shiseido

Technology adoption has never been at the forefront of priorities with cities, but it has escalated many rungs in the last few years what with open data initiatives cropping up over the globe in a bid to radicalise the designing of apps to take advantage of real-time data. Even if one is late to the party, the benefits are such that they can build on what has already been pioneered.

Just like it is a pain in the rear to be trying on a variety of different colours physically, Shiseido decided to put this to the test with lipstick, something that women get frantic with on a regular basis because of how essential it is to their image. In order to make them commit to their purchase a lot quicker, the augmented reality make up mirror from Shiseido takes on the image of the shopper’s face and then allows them to see how their products will look like on their respective faces. Remarkable!

IKEA

Back in 2013, IKEA the furniture giants hailing from Scandinavia decided that they’d get people to jump off their couches in delight when they introduced their AR catalogue, a feat that allowed many a relieved man and woman to visualise how certain pieces of furniture would fit in their homes. This was achieved by the app, simply by making measurements against the surroundings of the room to achieve true-to-size choices.

Converse

Yet another household name in the retail world, Converse made it possible for shoppers to virtually try on any of their products simply by pointing their phone at their leg. What was made even better was that these people did not even have to leave the confines of their homes, with the ability to make purchases through the app as well. How nifty.

So we think

that a majority of retail decisions are going to be helped made by Augmented Reality. With more and more decisions that are going to be influenced by this remarkable technology, retailers should be going crazy with the potential of promotional tools and AR information services. The advantage thus lies with those who adopt quickly.

Photo: www.augmentedrealitytrends.com