Friday, July 19, 2019
Augmented RealityRetail

How Retailers Can Use Augmented Reality to Enhance the Online Shopping Experience

Virtual fitting rooms are the future of online retail.

Everyone raved about augmented reality when Niantic launched Pokémon GO back in 2016. To this day, many people still think that this immersive technology only applies to the world of gaming. However, its applications are now in use in several industries — including retail.

E-commerce has certainly changed the way we shop over the years. It has made shopping far more convenient and efficient. On the other hand, online customers still have one big problem. They can’t try on the items they want to buy online.

That’s where augmented reality comes in.

Here’s why more and more retailers are embracing this popular trend and why this immersive technology is worth investing in.

Why Augmented Reality?

AR is the perfect online solution for this retail problem.

Today’s consumers want a more personalized approach to retail. They don’t want to be hounded by ads. They want a fun and convenient shopping experience. Research suggests that today, already 41% of shoppers expect brands to offer an AR experience. A third of consumers are also more likely to make a purchase after previewing the products through AR programs.

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No matter where a customer may be, they can try on different colors or sizes through an AR retail platform. This makes online shopping more convenient for them as they are able to interact with the products they are choosing.

AR has the capacity to integrate virtual elements into a real-world setting. It overlays digital images such as clothing and jewelry on top of a real-life image, creating a virtual fitting room. It lets shoppers see how they look wearing the clothes or accessories they are interested in purchasing. Not only will this enhance the customer experience, but it will also help improve brand loyalty and sales.

How Is Augmented Reality Transforming Retail?

NexTech recently launched a retail solution called Try-It-On,which is a new functionality of their AR e-commerce platform.  This feature makes quite a good example of AR capabilities. It uses facial tracking capabilities and AI-powered technology to create a truly immersive experience. Consumers can easily access Try-It-On because it’s web-based.  This also makes it far more affordable than an app.

NexTech Try-It-On AR feature

Try-It-On enables users to “try on” all sorts of accessories, from headwear and jewelry to glasses. The existing technology also comes with eye-tracking capabilities, enabling shoppers to see a virtual preview of themselves wearing goggles and eyeglasses.

More features are in the works. That includes support for the lips, ears, as well as other areas above the shoulder. Eventually, consumers should be able to browse makeup, earrings, and more through this AR platform.

NexTechAR try it on augmented reality feature“Our sentiment-based technology uses Watson’s Machine Learning algorithms to help understand facial expressions as they relate to sentiment [like happy, angry, etc.],” says NexTech CEO, Evan Gappelberg. “During the ‘try on’ phase, we will do live sampling of facial expressions to understand sentiment and look to prompt shopper actions such as ‘buy’ during periods of happiness.”

Try-It-On easily integrates with retailers’ existing e-commerce websites. Shoppers can “try on” their products through the camera on their smartphones or desktop computers as soon as the AR platform has been integrated. Retailers can even use Try-It-On to run ads and Facebook posts, drive traffic to brick-and-mortar stores, and improve their conversion rates.

Takeaway

Businesses of all sizes can benefit greatly by integrating augmented reality solutions into their operations. This enhances customers’ online shopping experience and boosts sales. Emerging technologies like AR don’t have to come with a hefty price tag. NexTech and other software providers cater to small to mid-sized retailers who don’t have massive budgets or the technological know-how to develop their own AR solutions.

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Gergana Mileva
the authorGergana Mileva
Based in Prague, CZ, Geri is a freelance journalist and writer, focusing on technology, finance, and marketing.