Why Retailers Value Augmented shopping
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Why Retailers Value Augmented shopping

By CIOReview | Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Augmented reality affects the user's real-world environment by superimposing digitally created content; features include transparent optics and a viewable environment that makes users aware of their surroundings and themselves.

FREMONT, CA: Augmented shopping allows customers to interact with brands and products through digital experiences that let them virtually put on, try out, interact with, or personalize their product; these experiences help give more extensive, intuitive products information than typical web encounters.

Virtual reality (VR): Creates a completely rendered digital environment that substitutes the user's physical environment; includes capabilities for tracking the user's body and motion.

WebAR: This term refers to augmented reality experiences delivered directly through a web browser without downloading a third-party program.

3D assets: Three-dimensional digital models of physical products that users can interact within augmented and virtual reality experiences; the process by which physical products are converted to digital models is referred to as the 3D asset pipeline.

To gain a better understanding of how various retailers are utilizing and valuing this technology today, below are some following product categories in greater detail:

Home products and furniture: Home goods as a category will likely face significant disruption because of the abundance of alternatives and the vast possibilities for personalizing various colors, patterns, and types of products. Retailers in the furniture market are the first product categories to discover augmented shopping success. Once shops could accurately portray the most critical information about the product—color, size, and fit inside a specific space—and allow shoppers to imagine furniture in their environment confidently, customers bought into these experiences rapidly. It is quickly becoming the furniture industry norm, where buyers have grown to anticipate that merchants offer virtual product placement in their homes. Returns on investment have been proved with greater conversion and reduced returns.

Cosmetics and beauty: Virtual makeup try-on is rapidly catching up to the furniture in terms of maturity in augmented shopping. After all, convincing customers to envision a new look or color on themselves is a critical component of the purchasing process for beauty and makeup. Beauty retailers are working feverishly to develop new technology that will improve color matching digitally. However, complicated technical challenges such as facial recognition and color fidelity have not deterred makeup brands, and many are now regularly delivering valuable experiences to their customers.

Clothing: While it's easy to envision the benefits of virtual try-on for fashion, proper fit and complicated aspects, like the drape of various fabrics, are notoriously difficult to represent adequately at the moment. With products having a shorter shelf life and a higher customer demand for realism, it has been difficult for many clothing retailers to develop an affordable 3D asset pipeline for their product lines. And, of course, there is the added complication of accurately and conveniently obtaining a 3D model of the customer's body or a "good enough" approximation to deliver the desired information. This is why many retailers have taken various approaches to create augmented shopping experiences for their customers—some are avoiding the more difficult technological challenges associated with virtual try-on while others are experimenting with workarounds or approximations.