Augmented Reality: Taking the Retail World by Storm
The retail industry is predicted to change more in the next 10 years than in it has throughout its entire history. Technologies like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence have long been prominent players in the entertainment and gaming industries and many believe that such powerful technologies will forever be limited to such fields, but this can’t be farther from the truth. Reality is that Augmented Reality Retail is set to take the world by storm – and it’s about time we all got to grips with this amazing technology.
Solving Common Retail Problems Through Augmented Reality
When it comes to retail, it goes without saying that there has been a worldwide decline in the number of visitors shopping in traditional, physical retail outlets. It’s not that people aren’t shopping as much – they’re just doing it online. Consumers all have their own reasons for shopping online as opposed to visiting a physical outlet, but three of the most common ones include:
- A lack of in-store engagement or experience
- Long lines at changing rooms and checkout counters
- Confusing in-store navigation
Sure, the above problems can be solved by hiring more associates or by installing more signs, changing rooms or checkout counters, yet such conventional solutions are both costly and time-consuming. Augmented Reality offers retailers with a cost-effective solution to the above problems, and more.
Augmented Reality Retail solutions essentially bring popular online store elements, like easy product browsing, customer reviews, wish lists, detailed product descriptions, and fast checkout to physical stores without the need for drastic changes. An example of such use of technology can be seen in the “Magic” or “Smart” mirrors that a few brands have already started to roll out across a selection of their retail outlets.
In their simplest form, these “Magic” or “Smart” mirrors allow consumers to pick and choose between a range of different clothing options, and show them what they’d look like wearing them without having to try them on – eliminating the problem of long lines at the changing rooms. Some brands have developed these mirrors even further, using AI technology to suggest similar products, and combining them with digital payment gateways for the consumer to complete their purchase on screen – which solves the problems of engagement and long lines at checkout counters.
Augmented Reality Retail Solutions
Although Magic Mirrors have stirred up the retail scene, they barely scratch the surface in terms of the Augmented Reality’s potential. Augmented Reality can be applied to practically any stage of the consumer journey, from the moment they step through the doors, to the moment they pay and can be incorporated with existing store or user technology.
The popularity and increasing use of smartphones has been somewhat of a thorn in retailers’ sides for quite some time now, since consumers often visit retail stores to see, hold, and even try items then look them up online; where retailers might risk losing the sale to cheaper online stores. Yet despite this, retailers and developers in the know have been working on systems that take advantage of consumers’ love for their smartphones. An example of this would be an in-store AR mobile app that helps users look up information on a particular product, guides them to the actual product using strategically played AR waypoints, and gives them the option to complete their purchase on the spot.
Are you Prepared for the Future of Retail?
Over the years Untitled Project has worked with household brands like Hewlett Packard and Nike, conceiving and developing retail designs for their outlets across the globe – ready for the AR revolution. If you’re looking for retail design services for your Manchester retail outlets, feel free to reach out and find out more about how we can prepare you for the future of retail.