Augmented Reality in Retail–Enigma paves way for Excitement

Augmented Reality applications

Finally, Krish and Anamika have decided to settle down in India after two decades of working life in US. Their dream is to set foot into a completely furnished house when land up in India. You might think what is so special about it. Yes! The specialty is both of them live in different territories of US and are choosing the dream home and interiors by virtually picking and placing interiors sitting in different places. They need to simply log into a real estate developer’s site and using the AR app, scan the image to get complete elevation of the house. Then need to pick up a sofa or couch from the e-catalogues which they liked and place it and see how it fits. Also, they can paint each room as per their taste virtually and take a call. By the time they are in, the house is ready, fully furnished to their taste. This is the power of Augmented Reality being getting inroads into every segment.
For more information on how Augmented Reality can work well in real estate industry please read the article
Now, while trying to connect retail with Augmented Reality, let us have some research findings to our assist.

  • 3 out of 4 Grocery Procurements Choices are made in Store
  • 82% of smartphone users dive into their handset to effect a buying decision when inside a store
  • 59% of women in the age group of 25 to 34 years carry smart phones or tablets even while working in kitchen

(Reference: Rami Khalil, 2015)
The above study is an example of how potential is smartphones and tablets for retail products. These studies have prompted retailers to extract the potential of Augmented Reality in retail by reinventing catalogues and packaging to a great extent. Immediate user experience emanated from serving the growing breed of health conscious buyers who look for calorie values and health benefits of the product in packaging.

mhealthinsight-300x225   product-details-in-Packaging-TheNextWeb-300x225
Courtesy: Mhealthinsight                                 Courtesy: TheNextWeb
When you simply scan the product with the AR app, as seen in the above images, whole bunch of information will pop out which otherwise would not have been possible with a traditional packaging. Adding more to it, retailers can even integrate video ad of the product or of the brand which will start playing on top of it. Augmented reality in IKEA catalogues are a super hit among online buyers for the last couple of years and with the arrival of AR headgears the game is in for surprises. In fact, the following are the list of AR gears which are expected to enter market in near future after which it will be a different ball game altogether:

Even retail stores have started using Augmented Reality to showcase discounted products stacked along with regular products so that while people are looking for discount items, they may have the opportunity of choosing the normal ones too. For this, retailers are using AR in such a way that, when the customer scans the image in a particular shelf with the AR app, those product visuals which are on discounts will pop out making life of consumers easy.


AR app which shows discounted items in a retail shop Courtesy Marxent

As the Pandora’s Box is opened and retailers have started realizing the potential of Augmented Reality, investments in the field of AR/VR is poised for a leap to reach $30 billion by 2020 from almost zero today (Dan McKone, 2016).
Since VR is having the basic issue of carrying headgears, shopping experiences would be always better with AR because buyers need not carry any additional devises apart from their smart phones or tablets. Augmented Reality in retail provides a lot of technological solutions with regard to retail industry as it eliminates the wall between physical and digital space and enhances it with engaging graphical experiences. In the near future, facial recognition through smart phones will let the store know the previous buying experience of the customer and make suggestions accordingly.
The advantage of having AR/VR applications in retail will help reducing customer pain points (CPP) and enthrall customers which will create much needed personalized customer experience. Closely coordinated incorporation of Augmented Reality in retail has the probability of bringing in explosive changes in the way people look at retail and increase sales drastically. In the age of digital transformation, innovative customer participation experiments like AR will pay massive dividends to the retailers in the long run.
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