Insight

AR in Retail

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AR capabilities are set to hit 900 million smartphones by the year-end, but how much does Augmented Reality really affect the way we, as consumers behave? This insight aims to find out.

(Rachel Arthur, Oct 2017 - https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelarthur/2017/10/31/augmented-reality-is-set-to-transform-fashion-and-retail/#6cc9e49e3151)

 

Pokemon Go catapulted AR in to the mainstream with its release in 2016. Fast-forward two years and no longer a gimmick - AR technology has become a serious game player, especially in the retail sector. Despite the obvious benefits AR brings, there is a risk that consumers may be overexposed to augmented tech and it becomes a novelty, however - with the right implementation strategy, brands can really capitalise on this new wave of ‘digital reality’.

 

Arguably, when it comes to retail - the organic experience of physically visiting a store and handing over cash at a till is still a popular way to go. Although the high street has suffered from the growth of online retail, recent studies suggest that more and more shoppers are heading to the high street looking for a retail ‘experience’, with artisan coffee shops popping up within supermarkets and DJ’s in clothing stores.

(Oscar Williams-Grut, Aug 2017 - http://uk.businessinsider.com/future-british-high-street-internet-brexit-retail-2017-8)

 

AR provides that perfect ‘experience’ consumers are looking for - and it can be adopted both in-store and in the comfort of your own home. Some brands have adopted AR tech within their existing e-commerce apps - allowing customers to virtually try products before adding them to their basket. A fantastic method of boosting brand awareness, however this way of shopping may pose the risk of becoming outdated. Where brands have got it spot on is with the use of AR ‘for fun’, whilst not directly selling a product - implementing AR tech can increase brand awareness and inspire purchases indirectly. A great example of this is BIC for Kids.

 

Stationary giant BIC created the ‘Drawybook’ - a colouring book with gamification capabilities and AR integration. By buying the book (and accompanying BIC pencils, pens and crayons) young consumers are able to bring their illustrative creations to life through the use of the AR app. The ‘Drawybook’ acts as an alternative to other kids applications and games that may not inspire as much creativity. By incorporating a magical story-telling element for young kids, the app - which has no e-commerce platforms, uses AR to increase engagement with consumers without directly throwing products in their face.

 

Apple CEO - Tim Cook commented; “over time, [AR] will be as key as having a website” for retailers, prompting that the technology has more far-reaching powers than novelty games such as Pokemon Go. Greg Jones - Director of AR and VR at Google said; “At some point, we’re going to look back and think, how did we not have a digital layer on the physical world”, suggesting that AR is to become the new norm.

 

Although not prominently in the mainstream just yet, AR has to start somewhere and has already advanced significantly over the course of a few years. With the release of Vuzix Eyewear, wearable tech with AR incorporated may also become part of everyday life. We soon may not be able to visit a website or enter a shop without coming across some level of AR integration. According to a report by Digital Bridge, ‘69% of consumers expect retailers to launch AR apps within the next 6 months’. In addition - a Google report found that ‘34% of users say they would use AR while shopping’ and ‘61% said they would prefer to shop stores that offer AR’.

(Rachel Arthur, Oct 2017 - https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelarthur/2017/10/31/augmented-reality-is-set-to-transform-fashion-and-retail/#6cc9e49e3151)

 

 

 

Although AR is still relatively in its infancy - the impact it has had on the retail sector is already great - causing brands to rethink the way they sell their products and the way they sell themselves.

If you're intrigued by Augmented Reality and its capabilities for your product/service, get in touch and we can help.