Photo taken from IStock
Do you remember the last time you shopped in a physical retail store? What was once a normal part of life has now become a nostalgic memory for many after over a year of lockdowns and social distancing. Chances are, you’ve probably made the shift to online shopping like the rest of us, and the face of retail is changing as a result.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers have had no choice but to pivot and embrace technology. E-commerce is an absolute must in this day and age, but there’s another emerging technology that has the potential to take retail businesses to new heights – augmented reality.
Here’s how augmented reality is changing the game for retailers.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality (AR) is an advanced technology that makes virtual interactive experiences in a real-world environment possible through computer-generated perceptual information. If you participated in the Pokemon Go craze back in 2016, you’ve used augmented reality technology! Social media apps like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram are also increasingly using AR technology to create fun lenses, filters, and effects. It’s safe to say that augmented reality has become part of modern-day life.
Photo taken from IStock
What is Augmented Reality Used For in Retail?
While augmented reality technology was initially used for entertainment purposes, retailers are now using it to enhance consumer shopping experiences. In today’s digital and mobile-first world, customers have come to expect high-quality online shopping experiences, and AR delivers just that.
AR technology enables customers to view 3D models of products, which can increase conversion by up to 250%. This technology can also deliver try-and-buy experiences where customers can virtually try on or preview products, like furniture, clothing, or makeup, before they decide to buy them. For example, Sephora customers are able to “try on” different makeup products thanks to a combination of AR and facial recognition technology that the brand is using.
Personalization is yet another way retailers are leveraging AR technology. Shoe companies, in particular, are using 3D configurations in order to allow customers to be part of the design process.
What’s Next for Augmented Reality in Retail?
As retailers continue to adapt to our rapidly evolving world, augmented reality will solidify its spot as a regular part of many brands’ retail playbooks. Given the fact that this digital tool is popular with millennial and Gen Z consumers, retailers who don’t integrate AR into their business might do so at their peril.
At Virtualiz3D, we’ve seen firsthand the difference augmented reality experiences can make for retail businesses. With our professional-grade 3D scans and augmented reality service offerings, we’re offering retailers the unique opportunity to provide their customers with an in-person experience, virtually! If you’d like to get a new angle on your retail space, contact us today!