There are certain advantages for consumers who shop online. Price comparisons and customer reviews are at your fingertips. You can research your potential purchase and compare alternatives all without leaving your computer.
Augmented reality apps are bringing that technology to the retail store. Imagine walking down an aisle at the supermarket. With one click from your phone’s camera, an app can instantly capture the store displays and provide you with a wealth of information on the products. You can see which ones have the best reviews or you can sort by price to find the best deal, much like you can do online.
Additional details of the products can also be made available via the app. Things like expanded nutritional information for food products or available options and models not on display can be presented to the consumer.
The technology also works at home. Virtual fitting rooms allow users with a webcam to “try on” clothing and accessories before buying. Consumers can get an idea of the look and feel of the items they are considering, all without having to visit a store.
Augmented reality is also being used by large retailers to create custom shopping adventures. Consumers use their phones to interact with special in-store signage that leads them on through a series of tasks they’ll need to complete. It’s a fun and interesting way to engage consumers within the retail environment.
Augmented reality apps are still in their infancy. Widespread adoption of the technology seems like a foregone conclusion. The ability for users to experience the benefits of an actual brick-and-mortar store, like fitting rooms, from the comfort of their home is an amazing feature. Likewise, augmented reality offers consumers in those very retail stores access to the tools and features that make online shopping such a convenience, like preferential sorting, and customer reviews.
The future of augmented reality apps is bright as they strive to blur the lines between online shopping and the retail world.