The digital age has led to an abundance of new merchants who thrive on selling directly to the consumer. Such a trend has began to compete with brick-and-mortar stores even though physical locations still host a variety of buyer’ perks. As retailers begin to focus on creating a cohesive experience both online and offline, technology has been vital in engaging buyers through both channels.
“Digital interactions influence 36 cents of every dollar
spent in a brick & mortar store,” according to Nchannel.
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 (AR) is allowing retailers to offer a more personal, interactive experience that will change the way we shop forever.
Revolutionizing the Buyer’s Journey Online
It isn’t rare that a customer starts in one channel and ends up purchasing through another. A true omnichannel retail approach is about creating a customer experience that is seamless across all mediums. With that said, technology is helping to bridge the gap in ways other than connected POS systems and selling via social media.
71 percent of people say they would prefer to purchase an item in a store if one was located nearby, according to TimeTrade. AR is helping to bridge this gap with product visualization.
Augmented reality makes it possible to see virtual products in your actual environment and the integration of AR into eCommerce portals is quickly changing how consumers shop by allowing them to see what they want to buy before any purchase is made.
With AR-powered mobile applications, a customer can select furniture pieces they would like to consider, and then see how those items will look in their very own home. The AR app uses the mobile camera to capture any room, to scale, and then enables a customer to see products of their choice in front of them before making the decision to buy.
Forward-thinking brands are capitalizing on the pain points identified through a buyer’s digital journey. The future of eCommerce will incorporate much more of the in-store experience the same way that brick & mortar stores will install more elements of the online experience.
Augmented Reality as an Engagement Tool
AR’s applications among online shopping are clear and (already) impactful with forward-thinking retailers but it will soon provide a value in-store as well. Augmented reality has managed to merge the digital experience with physical in-store products and it has stimulated engagement that drives sales.
Consumer confidence is a big factor behind abandoned purchases and AR is helping this point of friction for in-store purchases. CPGs and brands are enabling AR images on the outside of their packaging. In this sense, shoppers can scan the product packaging and easily see what’s offered inside without them having to speculate.
Lego is in the process of implementing AR-powered kiosks and product boxes into retail locations of theirs around the world. Customers can use the kiosk to scan the box of the Lego kit they are considering purchasing, and show their children exactly what the finished product will look like, in 3D.
Today’s consumer can engage with a brand through a physical store, their online shop or mobile presence, or through social media. All of these experiences should be consistent and an extension of one another. A true omnichannel retail experience incorporates an engaging buyer’s journey both online and off. As the relationship between AR and retail continues to mature, augmented reality will have an impact in every stage of the process.
Augment is an enterprise AR solution helping companies use innovation to visualize retail products both online and offline.