Augmented Reality (AR) is currently the fastest growing immersive technology and it’s easy to see why. An AR app has the potential to completely change the way a potential consumer interacts with your brand as well as doubling up as a sleek marketing campaign that almost guarantees a great ROI for social media interactions. If done right, the introduction of a well-built AR app will not only increase your market share, but in doing so will build a strong, positive, brand association.
How exactly does an AR app help a retail business though? Well, there are quite a few well documented case studies that showcase the fantastic AR apps in the retail space. For example, this article showcasing the innovative Ikea app that lets consumers virtually place furniture within their own homes, letting them know exactly what they’re getting. But what if you’re not in the business of selling flat-packed Swedish furniture? Well, Lacoste followed suite (if you will) and created an app that lets consumers virtually try on shoes and since its release, it has had over 30,000 people interact with it. But it doesn’t stop there, American beauty giants Sephora teamed up with ModiFace to create a user experience that encourages consumers to ‘try before they buy’ using their phones camera to try on the make-up available both in store and online. And the traction doesn’t stop there, companies from American Apparel to Timberland have all gotten in on the action too. AR apps are not a future to wonder about, but rather a reality gathering momentum at speed.
Using Virtual Reality (VR) in your training programs is a fantastic way to save time, money and resources in almost every aspect of your training. Walmart uses VR training across all its stores in the USA citing its ability to provide the exact same quality training to all its employees as one of the main benefits of moving over the VR training. While certainly true, there are plenty more benefits than just uniformity across all stores.
For example, a Dutch Shoe company has implemented on site VR training for all new employees. Giving them the ability to work through very real feeling scenarios without putting unnecessary stress on new employees finding their feet as well as protecting the brand by ensuring all employees know what they are expected to do before ever reaching the real shop floor.
While an AR app or an in-store VR experience can increase your brand awareness and work well in marketing campaigns going forward, it can also have more direct effects much quicker than many realize. Retail Perceptions published a study in 2016 discussing the impacts of immersive technologies such as AR and their impact on the retail market. Their study found that a massive 61% of participants said that a company’s use of technology had directly impacted where they have decided to shop. On top of this, the same study found that 68% of responses claimed they would be more likely to spend more time within a physical store if AR was an integrated function and 40% even said they would be willing to pay more for a product that they were able to experience through AR.
Reduce Returns and Waste
In 2018, a new shopping revolution really took off for online shoppers. The try before you buy scheme. The idea is simple. You can order, primarily, clothes from your favorite online retailer, they arrive on your doorstep a few days later and you send back anything you don’t want to keep. This service is free for consumers but the impact on businesses and the environment can be very intensive.
Returns are costing retailers £60 billion a year in the UK alone, but with ‘try before you buy’ being a commonplace function for many online retailers, finding a cost-effective solution which also pleases consumers can be a daunting task. Using AR can be a fantastic solution for this. From an AR app that lets customers see the products on themselves to an AR mirror that retailers can use at events, awards, exhibitions and so much more. Using immersive technology is the most effective bridge between giving consumers the flexibility to try on products in the comfort of their own home, without the business having to suffer a big financial blow. And they can do this while alleviating some environmental pressures by reducing the rate of returns. It really is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Future-Proofing your Business
With so many companies investing in immersive technology, it is more important than ever before to look to future proof your business. The giants in every industry are incorporating immersive technology into every aspect of their business. From Walmart using VR training as well as having an AR function in their app to IKEA using AR to help customers visualize products in their home. If industry leaders are understanding the power that comes from immersive technology, isn’t it time for your business to discover that power, too?
If you’d like more information about how immersive technology can transform your retail business either use our contact form here, or talk to us on our live chat function and we’ll give you a call back.