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Discover augmented reality in store experiences

Posted by Z. Manda | Oct 13, 2020

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Augmented reality, a multifaceted communication solution for a store

Augmented reality (AR) is a growing trend that is making its way into all fields of activity. If most people have learned and become accustomed to AR through entertainment (Pokemon GO, Snapchat lenses), the real breakthrough of AR is in the business world.

How did AR penetrate the business world?

The exponential adoption of AR in business is due to several conditions. Even without mentioning the more than 600 million AR users on Instagram or Facebook per month, there are many reasons to turn to AR for business.

First of all, we have the development of e-commerce, and the global health situation caused by COVID-19 which has accelerated the process even more. The advantage of buying in stores comes from the opportunity to try-on the clothes or any other product. So, to enable e-commerce to offer the same experience, brands had to turn to virtual try-on, through augmented reality. This concerns both the testing of clothes on oneself as well as furniture in the living room. Moreover, augmented reality offers possibilities of personalization that would be impossible during real try-ons.

Then, the appeal of augmented reality can be explained by the appreciation of the experience in itself. Since this technology is perceived as new, everyone is very interested in participating, and the experience does not disappoint. Taking part in an in-store AR experience is always fun and practical. It's like a game, which grabs the attention as it invites the customer to immerse themselves in the shopping atmosphere or simply encourages them to buy. At the same time, designers strive to create effects that are increasingly realistic, immersive and practical.

Some firms, more invested than others in augmented reality, go as far as replacing the in-store visit with a filter or a WebAR experience. Thus, by making all the items in their stores available in their filters , the customer no longer needs to move around. However, another use case is when the AR completes the in-store visit. In this case, it can help both to navigate around the premises and to try out the products.

Finally, unlike other technological advances, augmented reality is very affordable. In the majority of cases, the Smartphone is the only AR hardware your customers will ever need, and so with some 3 billion smartphone users worldwide…  In addition, to create AR effects, free platforms are available, such as Spark AR to name but one from Facebook. Moreover, with a little perseverance, a beginner can very quickly become a respected creator. Not forgetting that there are creators who specialize in making filters for brands.

The forms of Augmented Reality in store

Convinced by the benefits of augmented reality in stores? In order to prepare your AR campaign, you need to know that you have the choice between several formats of in-store AR experiences.

The first format consists in using a specific application for smartphones or simply relying on the AR filters of social networks. In this case, the augmented reality experience is available to the general public, who can experiment with your clothes, accessories and makeup, or see the rendering of your furniture in a real situation . This option is very interesting for e-commerce, because it can replace the need for a store. It offers the possibility to order through the application while allowing customers to try the product before buying. However, the use cases don't stop at fitting, you can also realize events with this method, such as a treasure hunt in your store with discount coupons, all in augmented reality.

Augmented reality also replaces APOS (Advertising at the point of sale). This second format can be realized via the Smartphone, as mentioned above. However, it is more interesting to install dedicated AR displays, the possibilities are then much wider. Dedicated displays can play the role of large magic mirrors. Thus, customers can see themselves in real size and try the products via the mirror. You can also tell them the story of your product by having an AR animation of your product when it passes the display. In a slightly less commercial, but even more attractive way, these magic mirrors can create fantastic scenes in AR and integrate visitors into them, like zoos in augmented reality.

Another format to consider is the augmented reality effects attached to a product or an element of a product. This is a highly recommended format to reward customer loyalty or to commemorate an important event in your store. The principle: the AR effect is triggered when the object in question passes in front of the Smartphone. You gave a badge for participating in your store's anniversary? By attaching an effect to it, you can be sure that your badge will be used long after the event. In addition, by distributing new badges every year that gradually tell a story in AR, your customers will be eager to attend your anniversary the following years.

To integrate AR solutions in your store, don't hesitate to turn to professionals.  Because it is important to master the rules of the platform. In addition, a professional guarantees your satisfaction both in terms of design and validation.

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