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“Retail is about sustaining a coherent experience for your customers across all of your outlets.”
Although Omnichannel is relatively new, the innovation in this space is constant. Still, many retailers have yet to create a cohesive strategy that encourages the same shopping experience on all platforms.
Selling to consumers across multiple channels is challenging but lucrative when done correctly. As consumer activity in eCommerce continues to skyrocket, establishing a personalized experience on both sides requires leveraging technology like augmented reality, a true in-store experience, and collaborative marketing efforts both online and offline.
Here’s a guide on merging the online and offline retail experience to better engage your customers across all channels.
How Augmented Reality is Revolutionizing Retail
The digital age has led to an abundance of new merchants who thrive on selling online, directly to the consumer. As retailers begin to focus on creating a cohesive experience both online and offline. Technology has been vital in engaging buyers through both channels, particularly augmented reality (AR).
The benefits of online shopping are becoming more and more advantageous for consumers. Online channels are also a big catalyst in getting customers to visit your physical store. As an online shopper you have access to a variety of luxuries: product reviews, payment services, product configurations, among other common features.
Now that the digital medium and in-store marketing must work in tandem to create a cohesive experience; technology like augmented reality is allowing retailers to offer a more personal, interactive experience that will change the way we shop forever.
The primary drawback to online shopping is that many of the sensory elements that customers use to make their purchasing decisions are often lost. When shopping online, a customer cannot touch or feel an item, see how it works, or know how it will fit in their home or life. The loss of this interactivity and presence in the shopping experience leads to uncertain buyers and more abandoned carts.
Additionally, shopping online inevitably involves a bit of guesswork from a consumer, which can lead to unsatisfied customers and company loss through increased return rates. In fact, according to research conducted by the National Retail Federation, merchandise returns in the U.S. represent nearly $260 billion of the retail market.
Fortunately, as e-commerce has morphed, technology has also grown and advanced to help overcome the challenges an online retail experience can present for many consumers. As the future of e-commerce continues to shape, Augmented reality (AR) will have a huge impact in how customers buy products online
How AR Helps Stop Buyer Uncertainty
- Proximity, Presence, and Interaction in the Buying Experience
While shopping online, a customer has to imagine and interpret what an item would feel like in their hands, or look like in their home or life.
By using an AR-powered app like Augment on their smartphone, a customer who is shopping for home furnishings can launch models of a bed or lamp to see how the item would actually look and fit (to scale), rather than playing a guessing game. AR advocates for purchases with more certainty and satisfaction.
- Modify or Customize Selections
Before making a purchasing decision, customers often want to see various color selections and explore other modifications that might be available. Historically, customization options have been difficult for online retailers to convey to their consumers. Often, the ability to see how a product looks in a different color is up to the seller. Augmented reality makes it easy for consumers to explore their options and make personalized modifications while they are shopping online. Using Augment, it’s as simple as two clicks to change the color of the couch you’re looking to buy. Augmented Reality presents a true value in customizing the shopping experience in a way that wasn’t possible before.
- Visualize or Understand Products and Features
To purchase with confidence, a customer must be able to understand and visualize how a product works and functions. Many online retailers have met this challenge by providing demo or instructional videos to help educate consumers. While demo videos can be helpful, AR elevates this idea and can bring a product to life right before the customer’s eyes with stunning, realistic 3D holograms. Such sophisticated demonstration makes it easier for customers to visualize and understand the intricate features of a product before they purchase.