AR/VR Use Cases To Transform the 2021 Retail & eCommerce
by Abin Thomas, on Sep 17, 2020 1:09:24 PM
Retail is one of the fastest-growing sectors leveraging the commercial potential of AR and VR technologies. This can be attributed to the consistent contribution of AR/VR in fulfilling novel user needs with emotionally engaging experiences right through mobile phones. According to a Statista report, AR in retail will equal about $80 billion in 2022.
The broad spectrum of immersive technology spans from adding cues into the real-world experience to an intuitive virtual world that allows consumers to be completely immersed in a fully fictional world. This combination of cognitive medium and technology offers a range of profitable applications in retail settings, particularly through the COVID crisis. In this blog, we will explore some prominent use cases of AR and VR in retail and eCommerce that can be leveraged through mobile apps. We will also highlight some of the benefits that these apps can offer retailers. So let us begin:
AR/VR use cases
Virtual product trials
AR/VR offers customers the ability to browse products at a given retail store from the comfort of their homes. It empowers consumers to try products virtually and find the product that closely fits their needs. For instance, for makeup buying, ladies can upload their face images and check how various lipstick colors will look on their faces, hence, helping them buy the right color. Retailers can also collect, store, and analyze this purchase information and provide recommendations to improve customer satisfaction.
AR-based store experience
AR/VR based apps can enable buyers to be more confident in their product selection. They can help retailers in offering rich product information to the customers and foster digital interaction of customers with products just as they would do in a physical store. This has been proving particularly useful for retailers through the pandemic when stepping out for consumers is not a convenient option. Datamatics built an AR-based app for a furniture store to make the online shopping pleasant and affordable for their customers. We implemented an Augmented Reality feature to help juxtapose the image of the desired furniture item with the ambiance of a room using a smart phone’s camera.
AR-based app for store navigation
AR-based apps can help retailers to provide navigation assistance to customers inside stores and help them avoid getting lost while traversing endless aisles for various products. It can also help customers to have a pleasant shopping experience by leading them to the shelf they are looking for. It can also assist users to follow social distancing norms by alerting them whenever they cross the minimum distance from another human being.
Creating product tutorials
AR-based apps can offer a step-wise guide and an easy-to-read manual with inbuilt interactive features for consumers. They can even help retailers get rid of any potential risks linked with the product by giving all the details of the products first-hand to the consumers and thereby reducing product buying time considerably.
AR-based games for shopper engagement in-store
Retailers can also offer AR-based games in their stores to lure customers. They can get tailor-made mobile apps to incentivize and reward customers to get coupons, discounts, and vouchers for their brand by winning the AR-based game.
Augmented photo shoots for model diversity
AR-based apps can let retailers upload various product pictures and use analytics to evaluate the model sizes required for product advertisement. Retailers can pick models and overlay clothes on them to examine various designs. AR-based apps can also help them choose various poses and backgrounds and decide ethnicity and body types.
VR technology can offer retailers a platform to build an exact virtual replica of the physical showroom or store. This virtualized set up can be utilized to offer customers a visual mock-up of products and provide them with an interactive virtual experience of buying. This will help customers experience the in-store purchase right on their smartphones. Similarly, they can design and update virtual shopping spaces with the latest customer trends and product preferences.
VR shelf planning
AR/VR can be used to visualize new shelf designs, product placements (eye-level or below the knee-level), set-ups, and configurations with the help of drag and drop features. Retailers can reset and redesign this layout until they obtain an optimal design for their product shelf.
VR product design
Nike’s Makers’ studio unifies AR, object tracking, AI, IoT, and other technologies with digital signage and video walls to print a customized pattern on sneakers. Customers can get their finished product within an hour. This is how AR and VR are contributing immensely to product designing. It lets retailers audit virtual models before designing the actual products. It also helps generate virtual simulations of products and enables customers to experience products and their characteristics before making a buying decision.
Popular retail implementations of AR and VR
- Lowe’s, a North American giant of home enhancement goods, employs an HTC Vive and a unique controller known as the ‘Holoroom Test Drive’ which lets anyone around power tools wear a VR headset and learn to work with the tools in a secured virtual space.
- Ikea has an Ikea Place ARKit app that provides a 3D visualization of the requisite furniture at a particular spot in their offices or homes. The customers can find a certain fit and preference among the furniture items.
- Dulux Paint Expert’s augmented reality app lets people try out different paint colors over their walls. The app has unique features for visualization to use for agreements on final paintwork with their customers.
Benefits of AR/VR in retail
Expediting buying decision
Manual product trials can be tiring and time-consuming. With virtual mirrors and 3D visualization of the products on their surroundings, users can find out the products that best fit their needs. For example, using a virtual mirror, a shopper can find the best size of the dresses she likes with a digital screen that shows how certain apparel looks and fits her body.
Growing brand awareness
AR and VR apps are also help expand brand awareness of a company to new audiences. Mobile applications inbuilt with contemporary AR features aid provision of unique experiences to users. Moreover, AR for retailer marketing offers a leverage by providing brilliant ways of interaction creating a channel for quick feedback.
Bridges languages and communication barriers
With a myriad of languages all over the world, users from a certain culture or ethnicity may face trouble buying at places that involve verbal interaction with the point of sales people. Through AR/VR enabled apps integrated with AR mode of Google Translate, users can use the integrated foreign languages to start buying.
AR is a modern technology that keeps adjusting to the dynamics of the market, therefore an e-commerce or m-commerce retailer that has AR/ VR based apps will attain higher profit as compared to the ones who have no such technology in place. The AR integration in retail processes has become necessity today.
Improved the shopping experience
Irrespective of the offline or online shopping experience, retailers must provide an intuitive means of buying to users so that they return to the store or app. AR/VR apps are helping retailers to retain a huge chunk of their customers with immersive in-store experience like digital or virtual mirrors, virtual try-on, quick returns, etc.
AR/VR is no more the technology of the future, it is prevalent across industries and is making a difference in the lives of consumers and retailers alike. Although with the technologies continuously evolving and 5G connectivity almost in place, we will witness improved and more refined versions of the use cases and many more in the upcoming years. It is, for now, safe to assume that AR/VR mobile apps are imperative assets for sustenance and growth in the retail sector. To begin your journey with AR/VR, it is recommended that you get in touch with a virtual reality app development company to garner effective results with your investments.