Smartphones may be the great revolution of modern times, but a bigger revolution is around the corner- that of Augmented Reality (AR). AR will have a greater impact than smartphones ever did. It has the potential to replace TV’s, Phones and all such screens.
AR can be simply defined as the technology which allows digital data to be overlaid on a view of physical world and is interactive in real time. It is expected that market for AR technologies will explode to $162 billion by 2020.
AR is being subject to tremendous response from the public. Most companies find no choice but to adopt this new technology. The retail sector is particularly excited about adopting AR. This sector has found something that can fundamentally change the experience of the customers as well as that which will disrupt the retail sector altogether.
Nowadays, many retailers are exploiting AR to bring the digital experience to in-store, physical products and also to stimulate online engagement for driving sales and increasing customer satisfaction. But, the potential of AR is much more. As a matter of fact, many retailers around the world are transforming the way customers shop.
The following are ways in which augmented reality companies for retail are operating:
Though sounding impossible, invisible stores are very much a reality. For instance, the Chinese online grocery company, Yiaohdian has set up 1000 stores in public places like parks, parking lots etc.
The set up works the following way: When pedestrians open the app of the retailer, they can visualize a total grocery store, with multiple aisles. When they pass via the aisles, the can select and add items to their virtual shopping cart and soon after, the products are delivered to their doorstep.
Level Playing Field
One other way in which AR technology has changed the competitive landscape is the width of space it provides to small retailers. Retailers are exploiting AR technology to their advantage by offering unlimited options for customers, without the space limits of a brick and mortar store.
Thus, if the shopper points the retailer app to a shirt, the app will display the shirt in numerous colors. As a next step, shoppers can instantly order to buy online, the shirt of their choice. By making use of AR, consumers will be able to swipe their way to unlimited options. As for retailers, the smallest of them can enjoy the biggest space for products. This not only provides a superior customer experience but also offers a level playing field for all kinds of retailers.
Maintain Good Inventory
Any retailer can display unlimited products to the consumer in a virtual space. Several retailers are making use of AR to showcase virtual products. Thus they are getting rid of costs of maintaining inventory. For example, BMW has an app that features its sports cars on smartphone screens. Customers can explore the cars from their garage and select the color by superimposing the images of cars in their driveway. Thus augmented reality in retail sector provides unlimited choice.
Making Online Stores Real
Many a time, you would not have completed the online shopping process for a product which you liked, simply because you felt unsatisfied, not having sampled the product in real. AR is the solution. This is because 40% of customers are willing to pay more for a product which they experienced via AR.
These are some of the benefits of AR to the retail sector.