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How Augmented Reality is Transforming Retail

The other day I ran across an article from Forbes that talked about the retail apocalypse and posed the possibility of the end of retail as we know it. The author, Lucas Roh (CEO of Bigstep), analyzed the recent news of big retailers such as Toys r Us and Sears announcing bankruptcy and closures but concluded that this did not mean that retail would fall. The key for continuing in the race, he included, relies upon the ability of these retail giants to leverage digital transformation and innovation. 

Those retailers that are able to see the shift of consumers and can adapt to technology and innovate, will continue generating great ROI and thriving in business. With the transformation of consumer behavior, retailers need to capitalize on an omnichannel strategy with a more personalized feel. Is it time to introduce augmented reality to transform retail? 

According to an infographic by Lumus Vision, consumers are excited about AR in retail and 71% of them report that they would shop more in a retailer if it had AR experiences. 

What are some ways that this technology is being used to improve the user experience?


Virtual Decoration

Although it sounds breakthrough, the truth is that AR has been around for a long while. Actually, it is being used by IKEA with their virtual catalog app that allows buyers to see how furniture would look in their room. 

Augmented Reality allows for a real look of physical elements in a virtual environment. Which in this case can be used to help in decoration. How many times have you purchased something and then it doesn't fit quite right on your living room or it doesn't look how you hoped? 


AR Fitting Rooms

Imagine going to a store and being able to try one a suit virtually. AR can make this experience possible. Customers can look at themselves on the screen and see how clothes would look on them without having to change. 

This can also be used while online shopping to be able to decide on different items from the comfort of your home.


Getting more information about products

AR technology can also make information about products and reviews readily available to customers. With a more realistic feel, customers can compare prices, colors and see what others have to say about their purchase. 

Customers can also have easy sharing capabilities and watch videos and more specifications of the products available.

Here's how Lacoste allows their customers to try different styles and colors of shoes.

The question remains of how this technology will continue to evolve and help in the transformation of old retail strategies. Another thing to consider is that there's not a one-size-fits-all, retailers need to weigh in on the options and research their target audience to decide on suitable AR applications. However, consideration should be made to see if this can be the turning point to success.