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How Are Companies Using Augmented Reality in Retail?

Read Time: 4 minutes

In the retail world, companies that don’t keep up with the newest technologies and trends may end up losing a large chunk of their clientele. Like how ecommerce revolutionized the way consumers shop, augmented reality (AR) is a rising force in the retail industry, adding another layer of personalization to shopping.

The technology is quickly seeping its way into multiple branches of retail, including the apparel market, as customers have been known to leave clothing stores if the first item they try on doesn’t fit. Consumers are also hesitant to buy beauty and home decor products if they’re unsure how they will look on their faces or in their homes after buying them.

These are some of the issues retailers are tackling with AR as they look for ways to sell more products by using virtual displays of clothes, accessories or other items. In fact, companies have developed some rather clever augmented reality apps that address these very problems. So, how could an AR app benefit your company? Well, there are several applications of the technology that your company could leverage to boost its business and, ultimately, its bottom line.

Using Mobile Apps to Create Virtual Fitting Rooms

What if a consumer could take a picture of their body and virtually try on clothes in order to save them the hassle of going back and forth from the store to the dressing room? Some companies are making this a reality, including Fitiquette, a mobile app that allows shoppers to view a “virtual imitation” of their body. They can then try different items of clothing in different sizes and buy those clothes online.

Gap is also at the forefront of this movement, revealing DressingRoom at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This clever pilot app offers users a way to virtually try on apparel via their smartphones. First, shoppers choose a Gap style that appeals to them, followed by one of five body types displayed on the app. They can then see what the item looks like and decide whether or not to buy it, resulting in a streamlined shopping experience.

Mobile Apps for Buying Beauty Products

Buying makeup is always a gamble as one can never quite know how a makeup product will look before actually trying it on. However, Sephora has found a way to ensure customers only purchase what they like with an app that scans people’s faces on a smartphone and digitally covers them with the cosmetic of their choice. It’s called Sephora Virtual Artist—developed through a partnership with AR company ModiFace—and it offers users the chance to experiment with lip colors, eyeshadows, false lashes and beyond.

The app also has virtual tutorials that teach you how to contour, apply highlighter, create winged eyeliner, and more. This technology is a smart way to push Sephora’s products and sell the right cosmetics to the right people, reducing the number of dissatisfied shoppers.

The use of augmented reality in retail is becoming especially important because it can boost ecommerce business by reducing the number of returns and reassuring customers that items they buy online will fit them as nicely as in-store products.

AR Apps for Home Decor 

Augmented reality is also being used to show what furniture looks like in a person’s home. IKEA worked alongside Apple’s new ARKit technology and iOS 11 to roll out an app that provides a catalog of 2,000 of the furniture company’s items, including sofas, armchairs, footstools, coffee tables and storage products.

The app allows you to take a picture of a place in your home, then you look for an item on the app and virtually place it in your home. Plus, you can use the app to price and reserve items, which you can then buy at a local store. Overstock is also using Apple’s technology to sell furniture, proving the ARKit is a valuable starting point for companies seeking to leverage AR technology.

In addition, architectural paint store Dulux uses its innovative Visualizer app to digitally paint users’ walls and ceilings. This allows customers to see what their home would look like with a certain shade while also giving them a prime opportunity to buy that particular paint.

AR Apps for Virtual Eyeglass Fittings

What if you could find the perfect pair of glasses, tailored exactly to fit your nose, ears and head shape? Topology is a startup that rolled out an app of the same name which allows you to do just that by taking a video selfie of your head. The app then measures your exact facial attributes and creates a custom-made pair of glasses, giving you the option to adjust the lenses for height, width and other features.

Even if your company isn’t selling eyeglasses, the sky is truly the limit when it comes to the level of customization you could apply to personalized products. For instance, it’s conceivable that an app could be developed that measures the exact dimensions of a person’s body for clothes or shoes to create an item that fits them to the tee. Similarly, your company could develop an app that looks at open spaces in a home and recommends furniture for that particular area based on users with similar interests.

The Benefits of Using Augmented Reality in Retail

The ability to adapt and evolve is a necessary trait for retailers seeking to keep their businesses popular and profitable as technology advances. Some companies are already taking advantage of the perks augmented reality offers as it makes the shopping experience more personalized and enjoyable for users, and your company could be the next one to make a big splash in the industry.

There’s no shortage of tech giants and startups working on ways to apply augmented reality to help increase their bottom line. The technology ultimately gives more power to users in the decision-making process, while also reducing future expenses. An AR app is already a strong selling point that transcends traditional advertisement techniques, and it’s only a matter of time before the retail industry as a whole adopts this innovative technology.

If your retail company wants to surpass the competition and expand its business by developing an augmented reality mobile app, you’ll need an experienced development team. That’s exactly what you’ll find when you work with SevenTablets. In fact, we specialize in some of the most cutting-edge technologies on the market, including augmented reality, virtual reality, machine learning, blockchain, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and natural language processing.

Based in Dallas, SevenTablets also serves Austin and Houston. However, our clientele isn’t limited to Texas. We are happy to work with clients across the United States. If you’re ready to discuss your AR app development project, we invite you to contact our team today.

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Lacey Williams-McGhee

Lacey Williams-McGhee

Lacey Williams is a marketing professional and Harvard graduate student living in the great state of Texas. When she's not working at the SevenTablets headquarters, she can be found on the next flight to the Bahamas, hanging out with her husband and fluffy golden retriever, or studying! Lacey earned a B.A. in journalism from Baylor University. Sic'em!

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