There used to be days when visits to furniture stores, stationaries, and other retail stores were considered the norm for making such purchases. With the advent of eCommerce though, many things have changed. Shopping for most, if not all retail goods have shifted online with only a few retail divisions such as Groceries able to maintain its physical presence. Even products such as furniture and heavy electronic appliances; which at one-time required customers to visit physical stores can now be easily delivered at home through eCommerce platforms.
In the year 2017, eCommerce sales in the US jumped up to $453 Billion, a jump of 16% compared to the previous year. Physical retail, on the other hand, grew at a mere 3.6%. Though retail sales still eclipse that of online platforms, figures such as these suggest that eCommerce might at some point take over physical retail as the primary mode of shopping in about a decade.
Here is the future of Physical & Digital Shopping:
However, Technology offers something for everyone! So while online shopping may have undervalued retail stores by a fair margin over the years, Augmented Reality offers several advantages which could help the non-digital forms of retail for maintaining its presence.
The promise of Augmented Reality is the enhancement of Real World experiences through the lens of portable devices. What makes its promises much more viable for its consumers and businesses alike is that everything required for a technology such as AR to function already exists. Smartphones are supposed to be the primary controller of AR-powered applications, and the entire world uses them. The major software supporting today’s smartphones, iOS and Android already have AR development kits ready to be put to its best use by app development companies.
So what does AR really have to offer to the physical Retail Industry? Here goes:
Changing conventional ways of appliance installation
If you are someone with a business dealing in the sale of appliances or furniture products, you’d definitely know what its like to be dealing with frustrated customers expressing grievances about product installation/assembly issues. So imagine if all those hard-to-understand instruction manuals are replaced by instructions delivered through your AR- powered smartphone! This idea has already been proposed by digital designer Adam Pickard with his conceptual app called Assembly VR. This app allows users to access instructions to assemble Ikea furniture. The furniture major Ikea itself has used AR in a brilliant fashion; more on that later.
If you think about how digital learning platforms redefined methods of education, it will be easier to understand how technologies such as AR can make product installation, repair and assembly more understandable than ever. AR is already put into use in manufacturing today and has resulted in the creation of new ways to train workers in factories with a high-scale manufacturing process.
Moving products from stores to homes virtually!
The Swedish furniture manufacturer Ikea has recently created an app which allows users to see how a product would fit in their home surroundings! This particular use case is perhaps the best way to define the potential of AR. Augmented Reality is capable of adding a new character and dimension to the existing reality and create scenarios which are otherwise only left to the imagination of the beholder.
Similar to how Ikea allows users to place furniture virtually at any surrounding, physical retail stores can allow users to see how each product can fit at their desired location. Say, you’re an owner of a vehicle showroom and a customer of yours needs to know whether a vehicle offered would fit in their parking space. AR can allow such customers to see how your products would fit their personal living space and make better purchasing decisions.
AR increases efficiency in B&M retail shopping
One major gripe consumers have about B&M is the constant need for consumers to check details and pricing of each product they pick. AR has the potential of removing such problems by allowing consumers to see all details of their next purchase in a more readable form through an AR app interface. AR can also change the way billing works at a retail store. Imagine if all you have to do is point your smartphone’s camera and make purchases automatically billed and paid for right through the smartphone!
The ability to purchase items immediately without waiting for deliveries is one of the key reasons why physical retail and B&M shopping still exist. AR can help consumers negate the minor hassles that still exist in retail shopping and make the process more efficient and perhaps make it as fun as it used to be before the emergence of eCommerce.
How to use AR Development for your retail business
The physical retail space has been facing tough competition from eCommerce for years now. For many, eCommerce is definitely the future and might someday replace conventional retail stores as the primary mode of shopping and purchasing all kind of products. Technologies such as AR, however, give it some hope and can add a much-required spark to boost the sector once again.
The first step in the process of leveraging AR for your retail business would involve the identification of the needs of customers and evaluating ways in which AR can make the buying process more efficient for them.
The next step in the process is to get support from the best technology consulting company to help you get a better clarity about the possibilities of its implementation for your business. If profitability is a concern and such an investment seems to be a risk. Mind you, the potential for profits balances all risks such an investment could have.
For one, an investment in AR development for a physical retail platform creates a distinctive competency, which subsequently goes a long way in the attainment of competitive advantage for a business. Secondly, at a time when technology is becoming so glued to people’s lives, an AR app on customers’ devices could go a long way in increasing user engagement with the business.
So if you understand the need for Augmented Reality development services in the physical retail space by now, the next step would be to identify and contact the best augmented reality app development company for your needs. PixelCrayons offers a 100% money-back guarantee which ensures that your investment would never create a loss. Our proficient AR app development team ensures that you get the best and most advanced solutions for your business requirements. Additionally, we offer full-cycle development support; which means that you’ll receive complete support throughout the SDLC from your side.