The retail industry has transformed drastically with advances in technology. Both consumers, retail brands and their stores were impacted by those changes. Shoppers now expect unique, personalized, and value-driven experiences that align with their digital and mobile habits, while retailers are pressured to conceive new and innovative ways to form meaningful connections with their consumers. How has the retail industry evolved with technology? How is augmented reality technology helping retail brands meet these expectations and goals today?
Changes Within the Retail Industry
The use of Augmented reality has changed the way consumers interact with products and companies in today’s digital age. In past years, consumers would visit a store to purchase a good or product, as this was the most conventional approach. Throughout the years, the changing demographic of shoppers have embraced the use and convenience of online shopping. Consumers are now able to order clothing with a touch of a button and receive that product within 2-3 business days. What would happen if you could combine both the traditional shopping experience with a more modern digital approach, and what are the specific use cases of AR today?
Augmented Reality: Simplifying the Purchase Process
The use of augmented reality in today’s digital era changes the way consumers are starting to choose and trust products. Companies such as Sephora started incorporating AR mirrors, which allows consumers to visually see products on themselves without trying on the actual product.
Companies are also employing AR technologies to grab the interest of passing shoppers and motivate them to step inside the store. Timberland has started to place AR mirrors outside of their stores allowing consumers to view clothing options on themselves by taking a photo and flipping through various options that could be seen inside the store. Consumer can also take a photo of the final product and send an email to themselves, which allows the outfit to be shareable via social media platforms.
Brands that deliver experiences that tie together their available platforms, like the retail store, mobile, and social media, accomplish an omnichannel approach to the shopping experience and create more memorable connections with their customers.
Identifying and Developing Future Generational Shoppers
With the popularity of social media platforms, retail companies are starting to leverage social media to promote products in a targeted and creative way. Retailers are now incorporating social media apps like Snapchat as a targeting strategy to draw consumer interest around their products. Companies such as L’Oréal, Adidas, and Kylie Cosmetics use lenses and filters within Snapchat to attract the younger demographic of users on the platform. Over 70 million users, many of which would be considered millennials, utilize tools such as Snapchat, to deliver a unique and personalized user experience that younger demographics crave and are accustomed to.
Interacting with Products via Personal Smart Phones
Not only is AR being used within retail stores, but now retailers are enabling consumers with the opportunity to utilize AR with their products while using their own smart technology. Companies like Lowes and IKEA have created a “Measured App” which gives the users instant sizing measurements, based off images from their own device camera. Given that more than half of homeowners do not proceed with a home improvement project because they can’t imagine what products look like in their home, this innovative technology linking the brand and consumer creates a level of transparency and the convenience that has never been experienced before.
The digital age has created a new era of shoppers who expect personalized shopping experiences that align with their digital and mobile habits. Whether it’s through a mobile app, an augmented mirror, or their own personal smartphones- retailers are employing innovation technologies to push the envelope in the industry – this is only a preview of what’s to come for retail. PlantRetails’ whitepaper, Personalisation Opportunities in Retail Stores: Enhancing Customer Experiences Through Location Analytics, explores how to enhance the customer experience through location-based analytics.
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