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Augmented Reality Will Be the Next Revolution in the Retail Industry

We all know there is a bit of a mystery when it comes to shopping. Will the shoes be too tight? How does blue look on me? Will the microwave fit on my counter?

Imagine taking some of the uncertainty out of shopping and making it easier to decide whether a product is the right fit – before you take it out of the store? We have all had the hassle of returning products after getting home and realizing they just weren’t right.

As Augmented Reality (AR) becomes more mainstream, shopping for clothes, appliances, tools and all kinds of products is becoming easier, more convenient and frankly, fun. As consumers find what they’re looking for more quickly, so too the marketplace for advertisers is ripe for reaching new consumers with their brands.

As we know, this thing called AR is technology that adds, or augments, the real environment by integrating digital information. You use a smartphone or tablet to view digital overlays of information. In retail in particular, we can see Augmented Reality making a big splash by bringing the shopping experience into your home. We have seen how online shopping has made getting products easier; think of  Augmented Reality  as a way to take retail a step further.

Augmented Reality Enters the Beauty Industry

For example, in the beauty industry, where testing different colors is essential, a customer can submit a headshot photo of themselves to an AR app, and then pick and choose among brands of lipstick, eyeliner or mascara. Think about how beneficial this is rather than standing at the beauty counter, applying and wiping off layers upon layers of makeup to see how each brand works — inconvenient and probably hygienically detrimental.

Some customers prefer a personal experience too. Perhaps it’s a little embarrassing being at the store rather than having the privacy of your own home trying on beauty products. Keep an eye out for AR helping you to choose cosmetics, fingernail polish, hair colors and more.

Furnishing Your Home

Let’s look at another instance in retail that we have all had: buying bulky furniture for the home, office or apartment. You’ve been eyeing that leather recliner for the den but not sure it will fit through the doorjamb. Imagine having a few buddies help you carry it up several flights of stairs only to get it stuck in the doorway because the chair is too wide?

Well, with special Augmented Reality apps, you can take photos of the room where the piece will go and then place AR versions of the furniture there. This way you can imagine rocking in your chair by the fireplace reading your favorite book. Measurements would be accurate as you enter the specs into the app so it can determine whether the furniture will fit and how it will look among other existing pieces. This is a huge convenience getting the furnishings you want (tables, chairs, cabinets, lamps, beds) at home rather than having to wing it.

Augmented Reality on Your Feet

And how about shoes and sneakers? These are a little trickier because every foot is unique but you could give the try-on an AR whirl. Again, you can view colors and styles and see how well footwear goes with all of your outfits. Converse, the sneaker company, has entered the AR arena letting us try on tennis shoes without even going to the mall. Again, really cool!