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Augmented reality in retail enhances consumer experience

Businesses are turning to augmented reality in retail stores to get a competitive advantage.

Overview

Every business is a digital business. That’s because every customer is now a digital customer. Nowhere is this more evident than in the retail arena, where shoppers have used social networking and mobility to transform their purchasing experiences.

In response to the rise of the digital customer, retailers are looking to leverage digital technologies to drive new levels of customer engagement and competitive advantage. One area that holds particular promise is augmented reality.

Background
Augmented reality is an emerging technology that superimposes computer-generated images and content onto real-world environments, thereby enhancing a user’s perception of reality by combining physical and virtual elements.

With today’s proliferation of social networking and mobile applications, customers have non-stop access to more knowledge and more opinions than ever before. This information is shaping their preferences for products and services, as well as their expectations for personalized retail experiences.

It’s not easy to meet the needs of this new breed of customer. In an “always-on” world, customers have the power to continually redefine the retail shopping experience they want to have. Their expectations are rising—and constantly evolving. They want to be enticed and engaged. They want digital content and digital options that are easily accessible 24/7. And they want a seamless experience, across multiple channels that enable them to search, compare and purchase products and services on their terms.

Recommendations

Augmented reality has a lot going for it. It is easy to use and engaging. It overcomes the challenge of merging physical experiences with digital content. Along the way, it creates brand awareness and boosts customer engagement in an exciting way. And, importantly, it allows companies to regain ownership of the customer experience through the use of branded apps.

Before launching an augmented reality solution that would deliver more satisfying customer experiences, retailers should make sure they have certain fundamentals in place, such as:

  • Establish a clear purpose and objectives

  • Understand the critical importance of the user experience and user interface

  • Make content relevant, usable and available

  • Determine ownership

  • Build skills and alignment

  • Develop a long-term strategy and plan