Augmented reality in retail: how will it evolve?
For some time now, augmented reality has been used in retail to help clients select which products they should buy. This technology is a result of ongoing research and development and is gradually changing the way people make purchases in shops, as it continues to bring the physical and digital experiences closer together.
As shown by recent statistics, an increasing number of companies have realised its true potential. Considering that this new technology is still in its infancy, scope for its development is vast, with experts envisaging its evolution to AR Cloud and Metaverso.
What is the key to the success of augmented reality in retail?
The digital transformation process involves both large and small companies. Its benefits are tangible and have convinced more and more business managers to invest in it so as to increase turnover as well as client satisfaction.
It is in these key advantages that augmented reality for retail shows its true value. Its success is testimony to the desire for innovation which distinguishes all those companies who have been quick to recognise the enormous advantages of digital. These are the two main factors that have encouraged physical shops to use AR:
- A desire to offer a high level customer experience which fits their retail strategy;
- A need to involve clients more during purchase, via a functional and well-planned combination of virtual and physical elements.
By focusing more attention on these points, companies can increase revenue, add customer value, build profit margins and above all, strengthen customer retention. This will undoubtedly translate into overall growth for that single shop or retail chain, which clients will prefer over the competition.
Another very important advantage of augmented reality is reduced product returns. Its regular use in retail enables clients to try products virtually before buying them, leading to a drastic reduction in the number of returned items, therefore cutting return and replacement costs.
Research carried out in 2021 involving over a hundred million consumers reflected a gradual increase in those using AR during the purchase of goods, while another important piece of data has just arrived from businesses in that sector, who reported an increase of 94 percent in the number of sales concluded using AR.
Will AR Cloud and Metaverso form the natural evolution of augmented reality?
As mentioned above, AR is having great success in retail sales and in future, its potential could also lead to the emergence of completely new ways of doing business. According to experts, simply increasing the focus on factors like interactivity, persistence and contextualised content could lead to a genuine revolution in the sector.
Last year, a classification of the most influential technologies of the next decades was compiled and AR Cloud featured among them. According to the official definition, it represents ‘a persistent, collaborative and contextual digital content, merging with people objects and places’. In practice, it is a new tool, designed to enhance both the digital and non-digital purchase experience.
The project is based on the idea of developing a virtual layer which is able to self-update and evolve according to the surrounding environment. Many people have already defined it as a kind of ‘perennial streaming’, which anyone can contribute to (whether directly or indirectly), with a constant flow of data which will enable the system to improve itself over time.
All this will be combined to provide a Metaverso, which could change the way people interact with their surroundings: an enormous project, in which augmented reality in retail will simply be the first step towards a different, more powerful user experience; much more than just a virtual simulation.