Read time 2mInsights

The Future of AR and the Online Shopping Experience

Augmented Reality – a buzzword that’s been around for years. By now, you probably know what it’s all about – but recent developments in the space make it more pertinent than ever for brand marketing. This article explores those recent developments, the effects that they’re having within the Retail sector, and how brands can harness the power of this technology and integrate it into their marketing strategies.

Recent developments of AR

Not even two weeks ago, Snap announced a partnership with Amazon, where Snap users will be able to use AR to try on a number of eyewear styles from brands such as Ray-Ban and Oakley. This has been quickly followed by Google, who have announced a new AR shopping feature allowing people to try on trainers and beauty products virtually.

Shopping features have been present for a few years across social media and search engines, but these developments show a sign of intent from leading technology companies to integrate and use AR in their core offering.

The benefits of AR

Whilst AR adoption still has quite a way to go, harnessing the power of its potential shouldn’t be lost on brands. An article from Deloitte highlights the importance of brands bearing the cost of investment now, to avoid the opportunity cost of missing out on engaging consumers and improving brand metrics later down the line.

Another huge benefit of the technology, particularly for clothing retailers, is that AR can boost the efficiency of online shopping, decreasing the number of consumers that buy multiple garments and return them. This also has great environmental benefits in terms of fast fashion and shipping costs.

The impacts of AR on brands

AR can be of huge benefit for brands looking to target a younger generation. Gen Z and Gen X are more familiar with technological adoption, and brands such as Nike have seen great success using AR to target and engage the younger demographic.

Secondly, AR can help brands to improve customer experiences, allowing them, essentially, to ‘try before you buy’, as well as removing uncertainty around product purchases. AR can act as a strength signaller of a brand, in a similar way to TV advertising.

As technology advances, the capabilities of AR will only grow. The cost may be high now, but the benefits are there in the future to engage younger audiences, improve retail efficiencies and customer experiences. Brands must be bold, brave and buyer-focused to reap the rewards of AR.