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3 Ways Augmented Reality Retail will Help Marketers Achieve Higher ROI in 2019


Augmented reality has been a buzzword for some time now, with many retailers implementing it in 2018 as innovative. However, partially due to the launches of Apple's ARKit and Google's ARCore, retail augmented reality is no longer a future possibility -- it's here. In fact, Digital Bridge notes that 75% of consumers now expect retailers to provide augmented reality shopping experiences.


While augmented reality shopping has many applications that can be used for retail marketing they can also be pricey to implement, forcing marketers to plan for it not only in terms of experience but ROI effectiveness.



The potential of Augmented Reality


Retail augmented reality (AR) is extremely powerful in turning everyday shopping experiences to an entertaining, customer experiences and ultimately purchases. The applications of retail augmented reality technology are diverse and function across industries.




Major brands have already taken the advantage of augmented reality shopping innovation, with cosmetic giant Sephora launching its Virtual Makeup Assistant which enables customers to try on makeup products such as lipstick, eye shadows, foundations and more. In supermarkets, retail augmented reality technology helps people better understand product ingredients, access recipes, and peer reviews. Giant furniture retailer, Ikea has also hoped the trend with a dedicated AR app. The augmented reality furniture app allows customers to place a piece of furniture and decorations directly from Ikea guide in their own rooms to be able to see how the furniture items and colors will look like in the intended environment for the purchase.


But the core question remains - how all of these add up to an effective ROI?


Ability to increase online shopping



While online shopping is a great time saver, it creates a different set of worries and concerns at the buyer side that can hinder purchase completion. Such worries often revolve around the inability to assess product qualifications such as look, fit and suitability to either a body figure, skin color, room in the house.


Retail augmented reality experiences are good news in this arena in that it enables the combination of the real world with a layer of digital reality almost creating an essence a new (virtual reality) the customer can visualize. Augmented reality shopping offers multiple try on functionalities such for clothes, makeup, and jewelry so that the customer can try before they buy. In this way, customers can see whether an app suits their skin tone, finger structure, lips color, body type, and the list continues.

The product validation on the customer side enabled by AR apps can often be the final trigger to purchase the product online rather than having to reach a retail store to try before you buy.

But we’re not the only ones to think so, in fact, business insider believes AR sales shipments will reach $72,000,000 by 2021.



Multi-channel marketing


The emergence of many types of mobile devices made online shopping a common that is hard to ignore. This forces retail stores marketers to blend the traditional offline shopping experience with this new online one, and in fact, by doing so they can win big!


Combining online experiences such as those offered by AR apps to the physical in-store shopping experience can boost customer engagement and sales to a whole new level.


The ability of augmented reality technology to combine the real world with the digital one, in essence, makes it one of the more popular and useful tools for the task.



Recently, the clothing retailer, American Apparel, turned to augmented reality technology to bring the online experience offline. By using the augmented reality mobile app, customers can scan the item using an AR app to see the product in different colors and read reviews by other customers who have bought that item.


While this is just one use case of retail augmented reality technology, the ability of AR to recognize an object (often called marker-based AR) and to launch an added digital layer on the object creates a myriad of ways for marketers for both sale and upsell at any given point in time. Augmented reality shopping can also enable to try on the matching products that are located physically far, get special promotions and more.



Personalization


Personalization has been on the rise for a while with Deloitte noting that 1 in 4 consumers are willing to pay more to receive a personalized product or service.


At the core of AR technology is the ability to add a digital layer to a real-world setting enabling personalization and optimization. In fact, AR can cater to personalize product elements according to customer wants, tinker with products on their face and body and more.


Kate Spade New York has recently launched a Make It Mine convertible handbag collection uses interactive augmented reality shopping technology for retail to help consumers customize the line of handbags, letting them explore a multitude of interchangeable accessories used to create a variety of personalized styles.




In conclusion, augmented reality is an extremely useful tool for retail marketers. While the innovation can be costly at first, it offers many beneficial functionalities that can yield any retail brand a strong competitive advantage and a good ROI. The secret sauce is to find the balance between the innovation in the solution and the actual financial value it brings to the table.