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Virtual shopping spree: How augmented reality on social media enhances the retail experience



Virtual shopping spree: How augmented reality on social media enhances the retail experience

Mumbai: Nowadays, convenience is paramount when it comes to shopping. Consumers want an easy way to try on clothes, visualize how furniture will look in their homes, and generally “try before they buy.” Thanks to augmented reality (AR) technology, these immersive experiences are increasingly prevalent across the retail space.

AR allows brands and retailers to introduce engaging new shopping experiences like virtual fitting rooms, digital try-ons, and color-matching for everything from paint to makeup to hair dye. By implementing AR, customers no longer need to physically try on items or second-guess how a purchase will look in their space. It eliminates the uncertainty of shopping.

Ultimately, AR reduces product returns, increases customer engagement, and fosters long-term brand loyalty. According to research by G2, 61% of consumers prefer retailers offering AR experiences. It is no surprise retail accounted for 5% of global AR usage in 2022, with that number continuing to grow each year. Snapchat even predicts nearly 75% of the global population will frequently use AR for shopping by 2025.  

Brands worldwide are using AR to create targeted marketing campaigns, boost engagement, and deliver personalized shopping journeys. For example, Nike’s AR app Nike Fit lets users measure their feet to find the perfect shoe size and visualize how different sneaker styles and colors look on their feet. The app improves sizing accuracy by 60% and reduces returns by 50%.

Similarly, Converse’s Sampler app enables shoppers to virtually try on hundreds of shoe styles from multiple angles using their smartphone camera. This immersive experience has increased conversion rates by 30% and time spent in the app by 50%.

So, what are the key benefits of AR in retail?

Reduced Returns

Allowing customers to virtually try before buying dramatically cuts down on product returns and related costs for retailers.

Increased Engagement

Shoppers can experiment with makeup shades, try on eyeglasses, and visualize outfits without lifting a finger, keeping them actively engaged with brands and products.  

Enhanced Loyalty  

Delivering seamless, personalized shopping experiences builds lasting customer loyalty and repeat business.

Valuable Data

Brands gain insights into customer sizes, preferences, and behaviors to inform inventory and marketing decisions.  

Boosted Sales

Customers are more likely to purchase items they can confidently preview in a realistic setting.

Leading brands are finding innovative ways to integrate AR into the retail experience across channels:

Color Matching

AR helps match paint colors, cosmetics, and more to a customer’s surroundings or skin tone by overlaying the shade onto a photo for an accurate preview.

Virtual Fitting Rooms

Brands like Gucci use AR to let shoppers virtually try on clothing items to find the right size, fit, and style from the comfort of home.

Interactive Displays

In-store AR displays allow customers to browse extended product catalogs, personalize items, and ensure a great fit or shade match.

Virtual Try-Ons

Similar to fitting rooms, AR lets shoppers virtually try on accessories like eyeglasses or hats before purchasing. Warby Parker’s app uploads a selfie to preview frames.

Space Visualization

Customers can use AR to envision how large furniture pieces will look and fit in a room versus relying on guesswork.  

Gamified Engagement

Starbucks has used AR to engage customers by letting them scan cups to unlock animated scenes, encouraging brand interaction.

As this technology continues evolving, augmented reality shopping experiences are set to become the standard. Several companies are already implementing AR throughout the customer journey to deepen connections and redefine what is possible in retail.

The following article is attributed to Vosmos CEO Piyush Gupta. 

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