The term Augmented Reality (AR) has been around for over two decades now, however only with the advancement of smartphones did AR really begin to make the intended impact. And the implications of this technological marvel are so huge that whatever is available in the digital world at the moment (Jul 2014) is only scratching its surface.
Moreover with the advent of newer and better computing options such as wearable computing and “smarter” smartphones, AR is making a steady progress in the consumer market. The implication possibility of this AR technology is only left to the imagination and the capabilities of mobile apps.
From being a tech toy that’s used for entertainment and fun to being one of this generations’ ultimate business tool, AR’s potential is limitless. With that in “sight” Google & many other companies are scrambling ahead to make this market, theirs. One such product from Google is Google Glass, it is set to make use of all the potentials of AR to its advantage and deliver the perfect Augmented Reality world to the users.
So, how all this has anything to do with the retail business?
In today’s world, the conventional means and modes of shopping have dwindled to a great extent. Once we all had no other options but to physically go to places and browser through the shop’s inventories and shelves in order to look for the products we want to buy. However, now we have plenty of options no matter what we are looking to buy be it garments, tech gadgets or even an automobile. We can browse for them, compare them, customize them, read their reviews, order them, advance book them, all that and more by sitting anywhere we want with a computing device and an internet connection, through a wondrous technology called online shopping. What more could we want? Everything at our fingertip!
Well, we humans cannot get enough of anything, can we? Here comes AR to quench this thirst, with its next level of shopping possibilities. Blending the two worlds together – the online world and the offline world – to give us this next level experience. Let’s have a look at some of the mobile application possibilities, of which most are already being implemented in shops across the globe.
So, what makes the major difference between the online garment stores and the real-world stores? It’s the Trial Room!
This has always been the issue with buying a dress online, we cannot be sure of its fitting until we finally receive it in hand and are able to try it out personally. Now, with AR’s Virtual Fitting we can do just that; virtually.
We can try out all the different garments available to our heart’s content and then make the buy. As an added bonus, this process in much less cumbersome and is within instants.
Warehouse Space Management and Navigation:
Keeping a record of the warehouse’s inventory is by itself a daunting task, finding a particular product from this huge list could prove to be another trouble altogether. With the AR technology, all this can change in a jiffy. Browsing the inventory, updating it, filtering it can all possibly be done with just a look and few clicks. Now, how smart is that?
We no longer have to navigate around the huge spaces of a warehouse blandly looking at the lists. Rather looking straight at the various cartons could give a virtual 3d image of its contents, thus cutting down our time spent drastically.
Advertising and Product Details:
No longer do advertising banners and posts be static and uneventful, retail brands can AR their advertisements and capture the eyes of potential customers. The poster can be augmented with product videos, content details, etc.
The customers will also be able to scan through the various products available in the store and get detailed information including product rating, coupons, expert discussions, etc on these different products in an instant. Allowing us to make informed purchases.
Gone will be our present days, where we take measurements of our living room wall to find the right set of sofas. Through the AR tech, we can get a projected catalog – IKEA is offering this option – to virtually stimulate an experience in real time and in real scale to view exactly how the product would fit within the home space; long before we make the decision to buy.
Thus, the magnitude and potential if this great technology is unfathomable, yet. But, all hands point towards the direction of absolute growth for the retailers who make wise use of this Augmented Reality.