Augmented Reality (AR) has exploded in the past few years in the retail industry. AR integrates digital graphics, audio, and other interactive elements into the real-world environment, enabling the customer to experience a virtual shopping experience. Walking into a store or browsing online, shoppers are often surrounded with AR features that enhance their purchasing experience. This article aims to explore the pros and cons of using AR in retail.
1. Enhances Customer Experience:
AR enables customers to engage with a product in a more interactive way. The customer can use their phone or tablet to view a 3D version of the product in real-time. They can use the tool to see the product from various angles, change colours, and use the camera to place the product in their living room. By using AR, the customer can get a better understanding of the product, which further enhances the purchasing experience.
2. Boosts Sales:
One of the main advantages of AR is that it boosts sales. As customers get a better understanding of the product, they tend to make quicker decisions and make more purchases. In a study conducted by AR Insider, customers were more than twice as likely to purchase a product that had a 3D asset compared to those that did not have one. As a result, AR tools help to increase sales, which enhances the overall profitability of the store.
3. Provides a Competitive Advantage:
AR is a relatively new technology, which many retailers do not use yet. By employing AR tools, a store can set itself apart from its competitors and offer an enhanced customer experience. In addition, the store can improve efficiency by reducing the time spent by sales associates on product information.
1. Investment in Technology:
AR technology is expensive to implement and maintain. For many retailers, especially small and medium-sized businesses, the cost of implementing AR in their store can outweigh the benefits. Investment in high-end hardware devices, software development, and upkeep of the technology requires a considerable financial commitment.
2. Lack of User Familiarity:
While AR is becoming increasingly popular, it still requires customers to have the necessary tools, either a smartphone or tablet. For some consumers, the concept of AR may still be new, and they may prefer the traditional shopping experience.
3. Technical Hurdles:
AR technology is not yet perfect – there can be glitches, and it can impact user experience. For example, if the lighting is not right or the image quality is poor, customers may not be able to see the product effectively. Technical problems can turn into major roadblocks in product sales, and not all customers will have the patience to wait for a solution.
AR technology is becoming an increasingly popular tool in the retail industry due to its ability to enhance the customer experience, increase sales, and offer a competitive advantage. However, it is not a perfect technology and requires significant investment, lack of user familiarity, and technical hurdles. Retailers need to evaluate their business strategy and determine if the implementation of AR aligns with their brand values and goals. If done correctly, AR has the potential to revolutionize the retail industry and provide customers with a shopping experience that combines both the virtual and physical worlds.