Will retailers be ready when AR adoption takes hold?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the blog of Nikki Baird, VP of retail innovation at Aptos. The article first appeared on Forbes.com.
If consumers want to shop and pay on Instagram or use Facetime to co-shop with distant friends, retailers better figure it out. That challenge is no different when it comes to augmented reality (AR).
The challenge for retailers, who operate thin-margin businesses and don’t have a lot of extra cash available to experiment, is trying to decide when the time is right to “get in” on a new technology.
Despite the Pokémon Go hype and Snapchat filter selfies floating around, only one-third of U.S. consumers have reported using AR, according to a study last year from Artillry Intelligence. Yet of the users, 73 percent were satisfied (or very satisfied) with their experience.
Similarly, a study last year from Adtaxi found only 10 percent of consumers have used AR or VR while shopping, yet 45 percent would like to try it and 30 percent would never go to another clothing store again if AR would allow them to buy the right size clothing with confidence.
Right now, AR and VR use cases focused on customer experiences tend to be highly specialized — seeing if the couch will really fits in your house, what paint color might look like on your walls or what a redesigned kitchen might look like to walk through. Virtual try-on of makeup looks and colors and 3-D visualizations of clothing to get a better assessment of fit are other early applications. Some of these work better than others. What retailers need to figure out is if AR or VR will be expanded beyond these specific use cases. Buying with confidence is an important value that AR or VR can bring, but it’s probably not the only one.
In the meantime, until consumer adoption at home reaches a tipping point of some kind — and who knows, the long-awaited Harry Potter AR game may be that — retailers are going to have to find ways to experiment and stay on the learning curve. If AR or VR is anything like any other technology experience that consumers have adopted over the last 20 years, when it hits, it will hit fast.
- What Consumer Adoption Of Augmented Reality Means For Retail – Forbes
- Mobile AR: Usage And Consumer Attitudes – Artillry Intelligence
- For Some Shoppers, AR Looks Like a Way to Avoid Stores – eMarketer
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What signals would indicate that retailers should be ramping up AR or VR investments? Do you see retail applications for AR or VR broadening beyond the current virtual try-before-buy benefit?