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In just 2 to 3 years from now, the Augmented Reality market will be worth over $150 billion and that’s one of the reasons why technology giants like Google, Microsoft and Facebook are investing heavily in the Augmented Reality based solutions. Augmented Reality is beneficial for all the industry segments as it brings immediate customer engagement but the Retail industry is finding it the most promising technology to engage the customers and increase sales.
Augmented Reality users are increasing everyday and it is estimated that by 2018 there will be over 200 million users using AR based apps on their smart phones and tablets. IBM consumer research data revealed that over 20% of the customers like to browse products and related information while in-store.
Why Augmented Reality is so effective for the Retailers?
Augmented Reality adds navigation capabilities to the mobile apps that users can use to scan the streets, buildings or places using the camera in order to find out the best eating options, shopping options or about the particular store. This feature is very useful for brands, restaurants and brick-and-mortar stores in engaging the local crowd to increase sales.
AR improves customer experience by bringing products to life on smart phones and tablets that enable customers to actually experience the product before making a purchase. According to a recent research data provided by one of the leading retail intelligence firms, it is found that only 9% of the in-store purchases were returned compared to the 30% of online purchases in the year 2015. Brick-and-mortar store have already started taking advantage of this unique technology as it helps customers in making better purchase decisions and they feel more satisfied with their purchases.
Retailers such as Lego are already using Augmented Reality to enable customers experience the finished toy models simply by scanning the toy boxes and they get a 3D view of the finished model. Earlier it was difficult for the customers to pick the perfect toy for the kids. With the initial success of the AR application, Lego further expanded its AR presence by introducing ‘Lego X’ application a solution for 3D modeling and printing.
Augmented Reality technology brings immediate customer engagement that leads to increased sales and it is a promising technology for the struggling store owners and brands that are affected badly due to the rise in new age shoppers that prefer shopping online at their own convenience. It delivers the same online experience to the in-store customers as they can also browse for other products, compare prices and make the purchase through the app.
Brick-and-mortar stores have to find new ways to market themselves in order to engage the new age shoppers that are always connected on their smart phones and tablets. Investing in Augmented Reality can be a wise decision as it brings immediate customer engagement and maximum ROI. Augmented Reality based mobile apps not only enable retailers to engage with the consumers while in-store but also through billboard advertisements and print advertisements in magazines and newspapers.