There is no question about the fact that augmented reality apps and technology are shaking up every niche in business. Starting with the simplest applications in warehousing for hands-free order picking and ending with complex tools for medicine and the automotive industry, AR technology offers innovative ways of working, socializing and communicating. And right now it is in the process of transforming an already shifting industry: online and mobile payments.
The potential offered by augmented reality apps was not ignored by the banking and payments industry. The level of competition is already through the roof and each card company and payment processor is trying to keep customers loyal by offering various incentives.
Shopping on the go is already a reality with the help of powerful smartphones and mobile payment systems. Augmented reality promises to take it a few steps further. Here is what the industry leaders are already doing in this direction:
1. VISA Partners with Blippar to Create an Experimental AR Shopping Experience
The location was London and the subject of the experiment was the House of Holland fashion brand. The augmented reality shopping and payment experience developed by VISA and Blippar allowed the customers visiting the retail store of the fashion brand to identify each product they wanted, select the right size and complete the purchase simply by holding the smartphone in front of an item and tapping through.
The video below documents how the first augmented reality shopping experience felt for VISA card holders:
2. Merchants and Online Shopping Brands Are Ready to Take the Leap
There is no doubt that “shopping experience” is one of the most volatile terms in today’s online retail. Customers are extremely savvy and busy, and want instant gratification to their needs and wishes.
In this respect augmented reality apps integrated with mobile payment can only bring forth an exciting and positive change for the online shopping industry. Even though there are fears that augmented reality may “kill off” the excitement of searching for products, trying them on and unboxing them, mobile payment specialists are working to create increasingly simple and seamless payment processes.
3. Mastercard Upgrades Masterpass with Facial Recognition and AR Shopping
Not to be left behind, Mastercard is also working on their own version of an augmented reality experience for mobile shopping and payments. Working in partnership with Qualcomm Technologies and Osterhout Design Group (ODG), Mastercard now allows customers to log in to the mobile payment app Masterpass by scanning their iris (one of the safest means of facial recognition).
The shopping experience is enriched by ODG, the manufacturers of award-winning R-9 smart glasses featuring an extra-wide field of vision. Augmented reality shopping and seamless mobile payment is the Mastercard vision for the future of retail commerce.
4. A New Meaning for “Seamless” Shopping
Online shopping, the most convenient form of retail commerce, both for customers and for companies, has been undergoing turbulent changes recently. People are no longer sitting patiently in front of a computer, waiting for a website page to load. They are on the run, with a smartphone in their hand and tapping away inside web and mobile apps. And, thanks to augmented reality apps, they don’t even have to wonder how their new coat or pair of shoes will really look on them.
The question is: how can AR technology make the shopping experience even better? Can online retailers make it easier for customers to proceed to the checkout without ruining the moment of admiring themselves “wearing” the item? Will they be bothered to start tapping the card details to complete the purchase? Pairing augmented reality with facial identification (as seen above in the case of Mastercard) and mobile payments could be the solution for now. The future may bring forth something even more exciting.