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    How to Use Augmented Reality in Retail to Improve the Shopping Experience

    How to Use Augmented Reality in Retail to Improve the Shopping Experience

    Ilya Dudkin


    9 min read

    augmented reality in retail

    The era of augmented reality has unlocked a lot of possibilities for both customers and retailers alike.  However, with all the new options that customers have at their disposable thanks to AR, they have become more demanding in terms of the shopping experience they are given. As a retailer, you must be able to harness the power of AR to offer your customers more relevant products and services. This is especially true since shopping is gradually shifting to the digital realm. Customers do not always have the time or desire to come to your store; therefore, augmented reality shopping can be your key towards unlocking main objectives such as:  

    • Higher revenues  
    • Customer services 
    • Brand loyalty  
    • Brand recognition.   

    Let’s look at all the ways such an AR store can help you achieve all of the above-mentioned goals.    

    Augmented Reality Clothing

    AR can help customers shop for clothes both in-store and outside of it. As far as in-store is concerned, customers can virtually try on clothes. This saves a lot of time since customers do not have to make multiple trips to the dressing room. The AR app can also give customers all kinds of information about the product to help them make more of an informed decision. Customers who are hesitant to enter the store can scan the clothes on the displays and see models wearing the clothes along with product details and customer reviews.    

    augmented reality shopping

    A More Personal Augmented Reality Experience

    One of the most innovative developments is an augmented reality mirror. This is an invention that was created by the cosmetic brand Charlotte Tilbury. This is an actual mirror that scans a customer’s face. It would then produce ten images of the customers with different makeup looks all in less than a minute. However, AR makes shopping more personal and convenient at the same time, by allowing you to shop at home or from any location. Even something as personal as makeup can be tried on or sampled remotely. As a bonus, brands can use their AR apps to help educate customers about achieving particular looks. For example, instead of just showing a customer how they would look with specific makeup applied, they can offer step-by-step instructions on how to achieve it and which products the customer will need to buy to do so.     

    Speaking of remote shopping, brands can take off the virtual shopping experience, especially if they have a limited number of physical locations. For example, Magnolia Market, a home and lifestyle brand, has only one brick and mortar location in Waco, Texas. Since they want all the customers outside of Waco to see all their product offerings, they created an AR store where customers can shop, see all of the fine details of the item they are considering even see how they will look in their own home. Buying a piece of furniture online can be difficult, but if you know exactly what you are getting and whether or not it will fit into your house’s interior, the decision can become much easier.   

    Using the Virtual Reality Shopping Experience to Stand Out 

    You can use augmented reality software development for business to generate buzz around your brand and help you stand out from the competition. One of the most interesting and controversial examples is an app called “Sweaty & Wet” developed by Moosejaw. The app was used as a companion to their printed catalog. Upon downloading the app, customers could scan the images in the booklet and obtain X-ray vision to see the models in their undergarments. While this may seem slightly risqué, the app generated more than 250,000 downloads and drove sales up by 37%. It allowed Moosejaw to separate themselves from the competitors and increase brand awareness as well since this was something that could not be found anywhere else. Even if you do not want a one-of-a-kind feature, keep in mind that once the customer downloads your app, it will take up space on their screens. This means that whenever they unlock their phones, they will be continuously reminded of your brand. 

    virtual shopping experience


    While we looked a lot at AR clothing and makeup, you can use augmented reality to sell pretty much anything. With so many options to choose from, customers are looking to be courted by retailers. As a retailer, you can use AR to attract more customers by making the shopping process fun, intuitive, and most importantly, personal. If you can help the customers find what they are looking for faster and easier, you are increasing the chances of repeat business and attracting new customers as well.    

    Also, you can use AR to help your customers overcome the biggest obstacle towards making a purchase: indecision. Even if customers see something that they like, they will always be hesitant to buy it simply because it is not tangible. There is a certain level of confidence customers have by being able to hold an item in their hands physically. Augmented reality shopping apps can help your customers overcome their fears of buyer’s remorse by allowing them to see what they are getting. It will be as if they are holding the item in their hands but with bonuses such as being able to shop at home and any unique features that your app might have.    

    Since many brands have already started incorporating AR, customers are now expecting a certain level of service and experience, and if you are not yet using augmented reality, you are at risk of falling behind the competition. Customers are looking for brands that understand their specific needs and who can tailor the shopping experience to fit that need. Augmented reality will allow you to achieve such a level of individuality and encourage customers to keep coming back.   

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