5 best examples of augmented reality in retail

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When you cannot be in-store to see the couch, outfit, or try on that lipstick, these are some of the best augmented reality apps that allow you to (virtually) try before buying. 

Since COVID-19 has impacted the way we live, buy, and sell, many retailers and business owners have adapted to the new normal instead of waiting for the pandemic to pass. In order to reach out to their customers and provide them with the same, if not better, customer experience, many fashion brands and retailers have shifted to using augmented reality. 

What are AR apps?

Unlike virtual reality which immerses users in a virtual world, requiring their full attention, AR simply overlays digital images onto the physical world to seamlessly integrate real-world interactions. When it comes to retail, AR is used as a complementary technology for shoppers – product images are superimposed on top of the view of reality, like mannequins or even the shoppers themselves. AR in retail is a solution that can help both offline and online retailers provide better customer service whilst meeting their needs and demands. 

Just imagine: You are shopping for furniture online, and you find a piece that catches your eye. 

But, then the agonising sets in – will it fit into my space? Does it match my interior design? Will it look good next to other pieces of furniture that I already have?

This is where AR makes a difference. With AR shopping apps, you can see what a piece of merchandise looks like in your home before you buy it. Same with clothes and accessories, AR clothing apps allow you to see what the outfit looks like on you without a trip to the store. 

Five best AR shopping apps

While the popularity of AR in retail is not as prevalent as it is in the gaming industry, a report by RMIT University has forecasted that retail, healthcare, and engineering sectors will account for 41% of the global distribution of AR market. What’s more, according to a report by Statista, the value of the augmented reality market is forecasted to be worth US$58.7 billion in 2022, with over 800 million active mobile users downloading augmented reality apps on their devices. 

These numbers offer a significant insight; the best way to reach your target audience is not just by being online, but also by providing a hassle-free and interactive consumer experience. This is so you can minimise the chances of them abandoning their online carts. Here are five of our favourite examples of how augmented reality is used in online shopping. 

1. Amazon’s Room Decorator

In 2020, Amazon rolled out a new AR shopping tool, Room Decorator. This online shopping app allows shoppers to see furniture as well as other home decor in their own space. The e-commerce giant has experimented with other AR tools and virtual reality software in the past, so what sets the Room Decorator apart from the rest? It allows shoppers to virtually add multiple products and furniture to the room at the same time. This means that you can now visualise how a whole set of products can fit together in your space instead of seeing one item at a time. By enhancing the augmented reality shopping feature, customers can go on an immersive shopping experience from the comfort of their home and make more informed decisions.

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2. MeasureKit

Making use of Apple’s AR technologies, MeasureKit makes it easy for users to measure different things in the world – all through your iPhone or iPad’s camera.  There are currently seven tools available: 

  • Trajectory Tool – records precise device motion and shows a movement trajectory line on the screen. It is most useful for measuring curved objects. 

  • Marker Pin Tool – useful in measuring something in your room or across the street.

  • Level Tool – lets you see if the object in your room is properly aligned.

Though useful on its own, this augmented reality app also enhances your shopping experience, especially when it comes to buying furniture in stores – measuring your prospective furniture is made easier. 

3. IKEA Place

IKEA has The Place App, allowing shoppers to use augmented reality with their smartphone cameras to place furniture items in their homes, so that they can visualise how it will look like in their setting. IKEA Place also allows shoppers to save their favourite products, share their selections on social media, as well as facilitate hassle-free purchases through the IKEA website. 

4. Sephora’s Virtual Artist 

Sephora’s innovative AR shopping app features a Virtual Artist; leveraging facial recognition technology, customers are able to digitally try on products by scanning their face using the app. From there, they can apply different shades of makeup using augmented reality. If they like their simulated look, then they can easily buy the products through the app or online store. 

5. Gap’s Dressing Room

The nightmare of trying on many pieces of clothing in a fitting room and high return rates can now be a thing of the past as many retailers introduce virtual fitting rooms. Gap’s DressingRoom is an augmented reality app that helps shoppers see how clothes will fit before they place an order, taking aim at the problem. Shoppers simply have to enter their height and weight into the app, select one of the five featured body types from a virtual 3D model. Shoppers can also buy their desired pieces of clothing from within the app. 

Streamlined shopping experience

Brands have several unique tools at their disposal through which they can enhance the shopping experience for their audiences. Along with an AR shopping experience, businesses can consider livestream shopping, for example. 

What’s just as crucial is also ensuring your delivery process is also a smooth one. Waiting days or weeks on end for a parcel or package can deter a shopper from buying your products again, as such it is important for retailers and businesses to choose a logistics partner that can complete the seamless shopping experience for consumers. 

Recognising the demands of both retailers and online shoppers, DHL Express has streamlined the delivery process to facilitate and support businesses in the implementation of AR shopping. Create a business account with us to get started.