Pokemon Go launched accessible Augmented Reality (AR) to the world. Millions of people were playing the AR game, many of them unaware that they were taking part in a technological evolution. 130 million people downloaded the game when it launched in July 2016, and its popularity may have waned since that date, but it was reported that five million people still logged on to play last year.

Augmented reality in retail

AR has proven popular as a gaming technology, but it has much more to offer, especially in the world of retail and commerce.

In-store experiential apps

A lot of retailers, especially fashion and clothing retailers, offer an in-store app. Shoppers can come in, use their own avatar, and try on various outfits in the store. This kind of experiential marketing enables customers to see how they would look without having to physically try every outfit on. It’s especially popular with the younger crowd but is also experiencing decent uptake with older shoppers.

Combining AR and physical channels

AR apps are being combined with traditional in-store marketing too. Signs can be embedded with an augmented reality code, and shoppers that have downloaded the store app can aim their phone at the physical ads and billboards in store.

Product details for outfits are shown on screen, shoppers are informed of whether the product is available in their size, and it is even possible to offer discount codes and vouchers to those using the app. This integration between physical and augmented reality offers a seamless and richer experience than the standard shopping experience.

Improve in-home conversions

Retail apps don’t have to offer an in-store experience, with some sellers providing an in-house app instead, taking advantage of those that prefer to do their shopping from home. Home retail stores, for example, offer users an app that scans a room and then adds furniture, furnishings, and other home items to the room.

This is a similar experience to an AR changing room, but it catches shoppers where they love to shop – at home. What’s more, the ability to change fabrics, colours, and sizes, and to see these changes in the context of their own home, should offer improved conversions over a static shopping app.

Samsung Gear VR by Janitors licensed under Creative Commons 4.0