By TODD RAMSEIER
One of the first things you learn in retail is how fickle buyers are, and how little time you have to win them over. From small boutiques, to major chains, converting more people from walking by, to committing to buy, is the number one goal.
So does Augmented Reality (AR) help solve this? Does it really drive more sales? The brilliance behind AR is that solutions can be created for any business of any size and store. This means there are infinite ways for this technology to grow your sales.
Here are just 10 ways you could use AR today:
1. Get customers inside the store!
Hugo Boss did a great job all the way back in Christmas 2009. Cards were handed out and printed in ads, which, when scanned with a phone, would produce a Christmas themed personal fashion show. Once you entered the store, you could use that same card at a digital terminal, entering you into a virtual game of blackjack, in which shoppers had a chance to win money!
2. Display additional information about products.
Many stores have started to go this direction, from bookstores to grocery stores. Scan the item with your store app, and get information ranging from reviews, calories, coupons, and even sustainability scores. Having enough staff to answer consumer questions, especially during holiday seasons, can be daunting. Giving shoppers answers to those common questions up front can help free up that labor demand.
3. Have some fun with it!
While toy stores may benefit most, everyone knows adults like to have fun too. AR allows for great displays where people can try what they are buying! Lego allows you to scan a box, and a built version of that set will come alive right on the box you are holding! Maybe you sell off-road vehicles, and holding your device up to a vehicle will show a customer that vehicle coming to life, jumping across dunes and mountains!
Building off the last point. Harley-Davidson allowed customers to see their future purchase pulled up on an iPad. From there, they could fully customize their bike, from lights to seats and more. Being able to visualize the product will really help drive those additional high mark-up pieces. Which leads us to:
5. Build trust in the product.
Whether someone is buying in-store or digitally, one of the biggest reservations is trusting they are buying the right thing. Several companies including IKEA are allowing people to try out their products from the comfort of their own home. Placing furniture down virtually with their phone, or trying clothes on from their home mirror. The possibilities are truly endless.
6. Build trust in the brand.
Easing customers’ minds, giving them the tools to make better decisions and really enjoy their shopping experience. All these things cement the brand as one that is trustworthy, something that will keep them coming back for more. Studies show it’s easier to retain customers than it is to find new ones (HBR 2014). Your app now lives on their phone!
7. Staff training.
The benefits of AR technology extend past the consumer. Training staff and giving them tools to do their job more efficiently can save just as much money as it can earn. From learning products to on-the-job training, to continued education. You can give your associates the best tools in the business.
8. Free up overhead.
Starting with being able to reduce the size of the storefront, as less product needs to be in front of the consumer. It can be used in the warehouse to optimize space! AR also can help with the shipping side, more efficiently finding the right sized boxes – effectively cutting down expensive shipping costs. It can go as far back as being used in manufacturing, giving production management tools to better optimize the production lines!
9. Reduce Returns.
Another cost saver. There’s been many studies done, and they all show that the majority of consumers want return assurance. They don’t want to pay for their return, and a whopping 96% would shop with a retailer again based on the ease of the return experience. (Narvar 2018)
Being able to get the right produce to the consumer, the first time, saves the company significant money, while allowing a better shopping experience.
10. It’s the future.
Regardless of all the benefits Augmented Reality has to offer, there’s one big one: it’s the future of shopping. Consumers love to buy from brands that are trendy, and keep up with current events. When implemented correctly, businesses can not only gain all the great results of AR, but they gain new opportunities that come along with staying ahead of the curve of technology.
There’s no hiding that humans are more and more attached to their phones. And there’s no doubt that staying up on the newest trends is a full-time job itself. But there are also tremendous benefits to embracing the newest tech that can help out businesses by leaps and bounds.
Augmented Reality is one of the next great tools available to assist your business, no matter the size.