Evan  Rose
Evan Rose 20 June 2018

Why Retailers Need an Augmented Reality App

The top five reasons why all retail companies, including small ones, should develop an augmented reality app and showcase their products in it.

The world of retail experienced a tremendous transformation with the advent of internet and the rise of online shopping. The next tremendous change is brought about by new technologies, especially augmented reality. The majority of large retail brands have a proprietary augmented reality app by now. But what about small and medium sized companies?

The Augmented Reality App: A Must-Have Asset for All Retailers

As a technology becomes more mainstream, it also becomes more affordable. A couple of years ago, developers demanded a king’s ransom for an augmented reality app. At present, there is an increasing number of augmented reality app developing agencies, and there is an increasing number of app development tools available.

All these details lead to one conclusion: it is now possible for smaller retail companies to develop their own augmented reality app without breaking the bank. Of course, there is a legitimate question: why should retailers invest in such an app, if they already have an online shop, or even a standard shopping app?

The key issue is that augmented reality shopping has become the norm in consumers’ eyes. According to market research prepared by Retail Perceptions:

  • 71% of customers would shop more frequently at a retail store that offers augmented reality, and
  • 40% of customers would agree to pay more for a product they can try out using augmented reality.

There is also the fact that AR is helping retailers create better stories, showcase their products, and build stronger relationships with their customers. These are the key factors retailers should consider in this respect:

1. An Augmented Reality App Promotes Product Education

One of the most frequent objections prospects have is “but why do I need this product?” Retailers attempt to remove this objection by educating these prospects about the benefits offered by the product, its ease of use, its innovative features, and so on.

But words are not as powerful as direct experience. This is what an augmented reality app offers prospects: the opportunity to interact with the product, simulate using it, and see how it would look in their home. 

2. AR Creates a Gamified Shopping Experience

Purchases are a mostly emotional decision, and one of the way in which retailers try to create this emotional response is through gamification strategies. This means that prospects are encouraged to see the shopping experience as a game and the product as a reward.

In augmented reality, prospects are encouraged to play with the products, and try them in various colors, models, with different customizations, etc. This triggers an emotional response, which ultimately leads to a desire to buy the product.

3. Augmented Reality Increases Consumer Interest

The world of augmented reality is growing beyond apps and in-store experiences. Development agencies are now able to create in-app augmented reality ads and notifications–and they really work.

According to a survey conducted by eMarketer, 42.9% of consumers consider augmented reality ads very compelling, while only 2.4% of them are still responding positively to traditional ads. An augmented reality ad complemented by an ad campaign promoting installs or the products themselves can boost sales for retailers of all sizes.


Source: eMarketer

4. Product Presentation in its Finest Details

Professional photos and videos are great, but they still do not offer an intimate knowledge of the product. In an augmented reality app, consumers can virtually manipulate the product, turn it around, zoom in to look at the minute manufacturing details, and try it on themselves.

Advanced AR haptics even give people the sensation of touching, pulling or pushing objects–the closest thing to actually having the products in their hands.

5. AR In-App Tutorials: The Winners in Customer Loyalty Programs

People want to get the best out of the products they buy, so they expect companies to teach them how to use them. Video tutorials used to be the most popular forms of customer education, but augmented reality has added a new level of interaction.

A well built augmented reality app should contain a tutorial section where consumers can replicate each step of the process, manipulate holographic objects, and try as many times they need until they learn how to use the product without any negative consequences.

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