2020 showed us that many things can change just at once. Marketing was affected by the pandemic strongly, even more than other spheres of activity. Former traditional ways of customer engagement became useless just at once. All those billboards in the airports, screens in the transport, leaflets, and others shifted unseen and stopped making any sense.
The key solution was digital transformation. In the state of social distancing, it gave new opportunities and became the essential tool for retail sector players. Merchandising switched to the online presence, and it used modern instruments to get clients interested in changed conditions.
For retailers, Augmented Reality (AR) was a critical answer to solve numerous issues at once. It was nothing more than an additional tool before and wasn’t applied by many commerces. Now in post-Covid, it is still a prospective solution, and retailers must use it to stay profitable.
Closer Linkage with a Purchaser
With the abilities AR provides for retailing, distributors minimize the distance between the seller and the customer. Now, when time spent in shops is shortened, it is especially important. Social distancing is here for a while, so marketing needs instruments to get close emotionally to a shopper.
For illustration, it helps to find and look at shops before visiting. With augmented reality, merchandisers can display the path and give a virtual tour of storehouses. It reduces time spent on searching and exposes respect to the client. In regions that restrict the time inside the shopping mall, it is a must-use function.
New Methods of Customer Engagement
While previous methods of bringing attention are not working, dealers must invent different ones. They should be conversational and grabbing attention. AR in retail is a great discovery. Some ideas are:
- models of real objects;
- voice communication;
- transforming common objects with futuristic technologies.
Let’s look closer at some of them and see some actual illustrations.
Try Before You Buy
The best model is the «Try Before You Buy» apps. Not so long ago, Nike presented their futuristic application which proves the right shoe size. It compares the customer’s photo with the standard measurements and other users’ photos database. That provides extremely accurate results and helps to buy fitting shoes not leaving a house.
Interactive 3D Models To Display Products
Another answer is creating 3D models of tangible objects. For example, L’Oreal Paris made a virtual makeup function in their app. It looks more natural than Instagram masks and applies to online meetings. It is a great way to show products without telling patrons to buy them.
While trading interior goods, retailers may demonstrate how they fit into the buyers’ interior. While selling clothes, explain how they look in real life.
While dealing with procedures, not goods, it is important to show the place and the process of providing the service. Banks and other big businesses are presenting their rebranded offices with that technology. But it applies to smaller companies too. Buyers see exactly what they’ll have while coming. That delivers trust and highlights a business.
As you see, interacting developments are various and almost endless. Everyone can certainly find suitable solutions according to their commerce kind. AR in retail has many opportunities, and maybe other ones are coming?
Improving a Marketing Strategy
Examples from the previous paragraph are not just fashionable ways of merchandising. They treat consumers as they didn’t before. Now ads must inform consumers about products and services and not just fashionably describe them. Augmented reality makes retailing realistic, clear, and clever.
Huge retailers have already moved to an AR-implementing strategy. For instance, L’Oreal’s app we’ve mentioned above increased the company’s sales by 5-8%. Another giant retailer, IKEA, created an «Ikea Place» application. It helps to see how furniture and decorations would fit in shoppers’ interiors. It presents the expected look with a 98% accuracy. It increased the trust from buyers and reduced the number of stock refunds.
The Final Word
Digital transformations in the present-day world take place faster and more efficiently. AR is one of those effective tools for business – retail, agricultural sector, service sphere, etc. Augmented reality helps customers to make clever and rational decisions. It adds up to a higher satisfaction from purchasing and though a stronger possibility that buyers would come back. Then, new clients are excited by a friendly brand’s appearance. All these factors improve shoppers’ loyalty and increase profit. AR using will soon turn to be a retail necessity to stay viable. Marketers must try different AR-based strategies and rank among the benchmark players.