Augmented reality augments the retailer
How consumers prefer to use AR while in-store
Current AR adoption in the US and Europe
Last week, L’Oreal announced the acquisition of Canadian company, ModiFace, to help drive sales by banking on the emergent technology of augmented reality (AR). ModiFace uses the combination of artificial intelligence and AR to style the user in real time via a smartphone interface. The app helps to style hair and skin tones similar to the widely popular technology adopted in Snapchat filters.
Although AR has an obvious focus in the online arena, it does not limit itself to the digital world. The popularity of augmented reality has steadfastly grown to the point of investment among apparel and consumer product companies such as: Converse, UNIQLO and IKEA.
The brick and mortars are adopting the immersive technology to attract younger shoppers to its stores and they are doing it with immediacy. ZARA, the apparel global retailer, announced earlier this month that it would begin offering augmented reality displays across 120 stores worldwide beginning in April of this year. While this technology offers a digital interaction between consumer and product while in-store, further testing and experimentation is necessary before this nascent tech catches on.
So how do consumers prefer to interact with augmented reality while in-store?
Quantum Stat’s survey shows that in-store augmented reality usage is preferable when searching for a product. US internet users ages 18-29 want access to the technology for product discovery (42%) followed by promotions (29%). The intersection between digital and retailers could offer a new and exciting omnichannel modality offered by retailers for years to come.
However, US adoption of augmented reality remains in the early adoption phase. In February, Adobe reported that only 17% of US internet users have experimented with AR via smartphone, followed by 12% of UK consumers. Retailers still have a way to go to bring shoppers back to its floors, but the potential of consumer immersion via AR is beginning to gain traction among the most ambitious retail companies.