Retail technology has been exploding in the past decade, with one particular sector making huge strides in the last few years. Augmented reality, or AR, is gaining speed as more and more retailers embrace the concept.
Augmented reality is a term for a live direct or an indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by sensory input, such as sound or graphics.
When used in a retail setting, shoppers are able to experience rich and informative content that comes to life through their smartphones or tablets, often facilitating or simplifying the purchasing process.
It’s been discovered that Augmented Reality can be extremely beneficial for brick-and-mortar retailers. It’s a fantastic way for stores to adapt to an online world, where online shopping is making it more difficult for them to attract customers and make a profit. It’s about making the process to buy a lot more convenient.
According to IBM, 92% of retail volume still taking place in-store and 58% of consumers wanting to get product information while in-store, properly implemented AR can be extremely effective at increasing sales.
Recently there have been some unique examples of retailers implementing Augmented Reality.
U.K. lingerie chain Ann Summers uses augmented reality in a sexy (maybe) way. The retailer launched the BlippTease app, which uses Blippar’s AR technology to deliver a virtual dressing room experience. It works in a similar manner to other smartphone AR, by using the phone’s camera to scan and recognize pre-programmed elements. The app lets the user select an image of a lingerie set they are considering for purchase, which they then superimpose over a picture of themselves.
According to Stuart Nugent, brand copywriter for Ann Summers, the campaign has been met with positive feedback from younger customers who tend to be more digitally engaged and more technologically literate.
“The Try Me On element has seen particularly positive uptake, simply because it’s a lot of fun as well as genuinely useful,” Nugent said. “That’s a powerful combination for an apparel retailer.”