With the rise of AR-enabled applications and devices, many people are looking to take full advantage of the services that can be leveraged as a result. For this reason, retailers across the globe have started looking for innovative ways of reimagining the customer experience by using smart technologies.
AR in retail seeks to digitally enhance the shopping experience, allowing users to enjoy a personalised experience – from customising products to placing them into different spaces and so much more, the options truly are endless.
So, how is augmented reality being used in retail?
AR by the numbers
To truly gauge the impact that AR is having in the world of shopping, let’s take a look at a few interesting stats that paint a more comprehensive picture.
- By 2023, marketers are expected to have spent $61.39 billion on AR
- Consumers are 40% more likely to invest in an item that they can experience with AR
- 67% of marketers and media buyers are looking to add the technology to their strategies
- 55% of retailers lack internal resources to support emerging tech such as AR
- $18.8 billion was spent on AR/VR in 2020
- Conversion rates are 40% higher when using AR technology
- 60% of people want to be able to visualize how a product will fit into their lives
- 27% of customers return goods because they do not match their product descriptions, something VR can clearly display
With these stats merely the tip of the iceberg, it begs the question; which retailers are using the latest tech to create AR campaigns? And more importantly, how has it changed the way in which people are shopping?
14 retail brands using augmented reality
To help you get a better idea of what AR can do for your brand, let’s take a look at a few impressive examples that have shown the world a glimpse of what AR technology is capable of.
The global stationary brand developed a new and exciting way for students to sketch. They launched AR-enabled drawing accessories that allowed users to draw their creations and then scan them through to an AR device that superimposed the graphics. It’s an educational tool that makes the art of drawing a lot more fun.
In 2017, the Swedish furniture giant partnered with Apple to create the IKEA Place app. In a bid to help consumers make more informed buying decisions, the app allows users to place IKEA products into a superimposed environment to get a better idea of what it looks like and how it will fit into a space.
Similar to IKEA, Burberry uses AR to superimpose its products into user photographs. It's almost like a filter that can be used for Insta-worthy selfies while promoting the brand.
At the 2019 ComplexCon, Adidas hosted an Unlock the Drop activation. Visitors at the conference were tasked with following AR-enhanced signage to find hidden limited-edition sneakers. As soon as they found a pair, they could use the app to select their size and buy a pair.
To get rid of the dressing room nightmare, Gap launched a DressingRoom app that allowed shoppers to try on clothes using a virtual mirror. All the customer needs to do is input their measurements which will then be used to build a mannequin. The mannequin would then wear the clothes, displaying an accurate fit.
Similar to how GPS systems help people navigate across the country in the shortest time possible, Lowe’s has developed an in-store navigation system. The system allows users to navigate their way through the store to the aisle of their choosing – the quickest way possible. How cool is that?
ModiFace is an app developed by the brand that allows users to test out different cosmetics without having to apply them to their faces. Using the front camera, the app scans the face before applying the desired product, and if it doesn't look as nice as you thought, you can simply choose another.
The days of heading to a store to shop are very quickly becoming fewer. To keep up with this trend of digital shopping, Macy's uses AR technology to allow users to see what their furniture would look like in their homes. It saves the physical stores a ton of space and makes online shopping a whole lot easier.
The sneaker brand has launched its Converse Sampler app that allows users to try on their favorite products virtually. Simply use the camera to scan your photo and place the sneaker, it's as easy as that.
The brand has installed AR mirrors in many of its retail stores. This allows shoppers to try on clothing, shoes and accessories without having to go to a changing room. You can even save the images and send them to yourself.
If you ever wondered what a Lego build would look like before it’s completed, then here’s one for you. In 2018, Metaio teamed up with the brand to build an app that does exactly that - Lego Digital Box. When placed in front of an AR display, the completed product will be displayed.
The brand is known to use its SNRKS app to build hype over new product launches. The first example is when they teamed up with chef David Chang with the launch of their SB Dunk High Pro “Momofukus” basketball shoes. Using the app, customers would need to find the AR trigger embedded on one of the pages of the menu at Fuku in NYC. This allowed customers to get their hands on these limited-edition sneakers before anyone else.
Similar to some of the other brands mentioned, Lacoste has also launched an app that allows users to try on shoes without actually having to do so. The app also identifies in-store AR triggers related to promotions and hidden displays.
14. Warby Parker
Choosing the right frames can be tricky, especially when there’s limited stock on hand. Warby Parker has launched an app that allows users to try on frames in the comfort of their own homes before committing to a pair.
The customer journey has been reimagined
In a world where digital shopping is the norm, consumers need a way to ensure the product they’re purchasing is truly the right fit. In addition to this, they also want to be given the opportunity to interact with brands in ways that were never before possible.
AR has very clearly made its mark in the retail space, and any marketer would be wise to look into ways they can leverage this technology to their advantage.