In early 2018, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple announced the inclusion of AR emojis and stickers in their latest version of iOS. Since the AR and VR industry has come a long way and this year its presence is even more prominent. Thanks to tools like Apple�s ARKit and Google�s ARCore developers around the world have started creating applications that are changing the game and more so in the retail industry.

Long gone are the days, when you would have to browse through online shopping portals and imagine in your mind, how the dress will look on you. With AR, you can see yourself in the dress from the comfort of your phone and many retail chains across the world have already started implementing its use.

In a recent survey it was found that nearly 75% of consumers expect AR to be an incentive of online shopping by end 2020. This clearly shows the large scale impact of AR and in this article we will tell how AR can radically change the consumer of tomorrow shops online.

Virtual Try On

Have you ever been to a store and been deterred of your motivation to shop due to the long queue at the trial room? If you are anything us, you definitely have been through this experience.

Virtual Try On is a new technology in the market which lets retail chains create an application, allowing the consumer to virtually try on products, specially apparels, shoes, spectacles, caps and watches without the need to go to the trial room. Combined with technologies like online personalized 3D Avatar, a user can try on anything starting from shoes to makeup and determine how the product looks on them.

As of 2018, retail brands in the United States like Lacoste and Saphora have created AR applications that let them try on new shoes as well as virtually apply makeup on their skin. Since its release more than 30,000 users have participated in the trial run, and the applications are scheduled for global release by the end of 2019. It is estimated that by 2022, smartphones will account for more than 35% of shopping globally and this technology will only boost its presence.

See at Home

When shopping for furniture, either at a retail store or online, have you ever wondered what the product will look like once installed? Often times this thought leads to confusion among buyers and thus deters most from making an informed purchase.

With See at Home AR technology, manufacturers can create an application which will let users see how a product will look like at their home, before they make the purchase. Thanks to its use of AR technology, the buyer can now make an informed decision as to which product will match their interior decorations the best.

As of early 2019 brands like Home Depot and Magnolia Market has released such applications which lets users see products in their own environment. Home Depot�s Color app lets users choose the best paint for their walls and also helps them with custom suggestions on wall decor.

In Store AR

Most shoppers these days tend to check for product information online before they make a purchase in store. While the presence of a sales person at the store definitely helps with information like the price of the product, figuring out the correct size etc., but there are some information which a buyer can�t ask a sales person.

For example, if you are looking at a blue hoodie, you can�t ask the salesperson what are the reviews of the product, how users have rated it etc. This is where AR can come in and bridge the gap between online shopping and retail shopping.

By creating an AR application that collects in store information about products and helps the consumer with things like online reviews of the product, how other users have rated it, color options available online and even a video tutorial of a model wearing the same hoodie. While this is just the edge of how AR can radicalize retail shopping, this application can surely bridge the gap between online and retail shopping. An example of this type of application is American Apparel�s AR app, which serves the above purpose.

Virtual Fitting Room

Similar to the use of an AR avatar mentioned in the first point, this application makes use of Kinetic technology, motion sensing and AR to create a virtual fitting room for consumers. Just standing at the front of the camera, users can see how a dress will look on them without even trying it on.

This can be a special draw at a store during a busy shopping season, where there are long queues in front of the trial room. nternational clothing brand, TopShop and Timberland installed at their Moscow and Mokotow stores and so far they have seen huge success.

Brand Awareness

Although AR technology is continuously becoming mainstream in 2019, its surprising and intriguing factor to consumers has not yet been lost. In a recent survey, conducted in early 2019, consumers reported that they find brands which use AR as being more forward thinking and technologically updated, thus making them more attractive. This clearly shows that the use of AR can make your brand more visible to the average consumer.

For example, international shoe brand, AirWalk released a campaign in mid 2019 where they used AR to create an invisible pop up store. To visit this store, users needed to download AirWalks AR applications and point the camera at a street corner. This was done to promote the limited launch of AirWalk Jim and the brand earned a media coverage of more than 5 million USD in just 5 days.

The use of AR technology by brands and manufacturers worldwide is earning them more recognition and more sales in the long run. With its superior customer engagement capabilities and mission to radicalize the retail industry, this technology is here to stay and now is the time to implement it in your business.