The retail industry has been an early adopter of cutting-edge technologies, one of which is Augmented Reality, leading the way in warehousing, logistics, navigation, marketing, and customer service. This phenomenon enables brands to interact with customers via their digital devices and further visualize products in 3D, which they previously perceived in 2D through their screens. With it being at their disposal, customers are becoming more and more demanding of this technology. In 2021, the global augmented reality in retail value was estimated to be over $2.4 billion and is projected to reach $12 billion in 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 30.25%.
Benefits of integrating augmented reality in retail
Adopting augmented reality in retail not only proves the brand’s willingness to keep up with the latest trends, but also offers benefits and opportunities that could be of use in both the short and long term.
- Boosts sales and minimizes returns: using augmented reality in retail enables customers to interact and engage with products and items, as well as try them virtually before making any purchase. For example, augmented reality mirrors are now being set up in many stores, making it easier and faster for shoppers to check the size, fit, and style of their desired items before making any decisions. Continuing with the AR mirrors example, people passing by shops using such a technology will be intrigued to step in and try it themselves. It is a great strategy to attract customers, engage them, and increase the likelihood of selling.
- Collecting data about customers’ preferences: The information about the items customers choose to try through AR-enhanced shopping reveals a lot about their interests and shopping patterns. These insights are very much helpful for retailers to deliver personalized advertising and future marketing campaigns, resulting in the building of a solid bond between the two parties.
- Cutting off staff efforts and expenses: The AR application provides users with detailed information about the products they are interested in. It also has the ability of showing feedback on items from previous buyers, which enhances the quality of the shopping experience. Furthermore, augmented reality in retail aids in store navigation, reducing the need for human shop assistants to a certain extent.
- Contactless shopping experience: Following a global pandemic that left people around the world alerted about the way they interact with their environment, a contactless shopping experience is much needed. Including augmented reality in the retail industry offers just that, providing customers with a sense of reassurance. With a mind peace, store visitors will definitely be much more comfortable shopping for what they are looking for.
- Creating customer loyalty: Customer loyalty is a result of an ideal, satisfactory customer experience. Building enough credibility is one major way leading to it, helping brands in developing stronger relationships with their audience; thus, increasing their sales and profits. Augmented reality helps in activating this desired loyalty and putting it into action.
- Product display: To enable augmented reality in physical shops, many brands are installing in-store displays that provide visitors with a variety of interactive experiences. In addition, brands can take advantage of integrating in-store augmented reality by giving their customers the possibility of customizing items like bags, accessories, decorations, etc.