Future Of Retail - Augmented Reality In Retail

Augmented reality (AR) describes a computer-based enhancement of reality perception. This can occur via all human sensory modalities. However, the most common case of augmented reality is only the visual representation of information: Images or videos are augmented with additional information or virtual objects by means of overlaying. In soccer broadcasts, superimposing distances of free kicks with the help of a circle or a line is possible through augmented reality.

But to what extent is the use of augmented reality in retail possible and, above all, useful? What benefits can both retailers and customers derive from it?

Are there already examples of successful implementation?

To What Extent Can AR Help With Customer Acquisition In Brick-And-Mortar Retail?

Through the targeted use of AR applications, brick-and-mortar retail has the opportunity to close the gap to online retail a significant amount. Augmented reality offers considerable added value when it makes additional information available digitally directly at the point of sale. This includes, for example, offers, recommendations and other additional information.

The Use Of Augmented Reality

So far, the use of AR is still limited and only possible via special glasses or app on one's smartphone. Special glasses would have to be provided by the respective stores. Therefore, a downloadable app is the better solution for consumers due to ease of use. As a result, customers can stroll from store to store and, as needed, easily call up the desired product information with their own smartphone or place a furnishing item directly in their own living room based on a previously captured image.

Advantages Compared To E-Commerce

An integration of augmented reality allows the advantages of online retail to be combined with those of brick-and-mortar retail. Ideally, the two worlds of experience can even be combined. Retailers can present a showroom in a prime downtown location without being subject to the usual limitations of shelf or warehouse space. The limited space would be supplemented by virtual units and alternatives and additional information. The actual local sales space is thus extended and customers can experience and test the desired objects live. Afterwards these can be put after desired configuration on an on-line callable watch list or be bought directly locally.

AR In Retail Works

The jeweler Christ already digitally upgraded a Hamburg store in 2017 as part of a pilot project. An interactive AR mirror allows customers to try on jewelry virtually. In this case, the advantages of augmented reality were used effectively. Within a branch of the jeweler, the entire product range can be presented, tried on and purchased. In addition, the mirror leads to an enrichment of the shopping experience without causing any customer-facing effort.

Another provider uses the functional scope of augmented reality in online retail. At Mister Spex, virtual eyeglass try-ons are possible via webcam. A few years ago, most of us probably couldn't imagine buying products like glasses or shoes online. In the meantime, however, it has already become common practice for many. All you need for the 3D try-on is a functioning webcam.

About The Author
 

Christopher Schröder is a marketing specialist at Snabble. He has a masters degree in corporate communications and coaches a football team.
Contact Chris on LinkedIn.

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