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How is Augmented Reality Transforming the Retail Industry?

Augmented reality (AR) is a prominent retail technology that provides immersive experiences and accessibility for online consumers. It is less difficult to install than virtual reality (VR) and can be found on millions of smartphones. The AR retail market will reach USD 17.8 billion by 2028. Consumers may now get seamless purchasing experiences without having to visit real locations, thanks to AR technology.

Understanding Augmented Reality’s Opportunities in Retail

1. Mobile AR: Possibly the most prevalent kind of AR, users may use their cellphones to superimpose graphics on their surroundings. Through planning, light detection and ranging (LiDAR), and hand and eye tracking, digital objects may interact with users. Distance, interaction, and data anchoring are calculated between physical and immersive locations. 

2. AR smart glasses: Smart glasses may also be used to watch AR content. This approach is more costly than mobile AR, but it allows for more accurate applications. Smart glasses for industrial field services have been created by companies. Manufacturing, retail, customer service, and emergency services have all begun to use these devices. Users may also use the technologies to transfer files, conduct video conversations, resolve train and onboard amenities, and possibly perform surgery.

3. WebAR: Similar to mobile AR, WebAR does not require independent programs. It instead operates directly through the mobile phone’s browser, creating AR experiences just like any other online page.

Mobile AR is ideally suited for retail use cases, whereas WebAR is accessible to practically all customers who own smartphones. This reduces the need to purchase specific AR-powered shopping gadgets.

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AR Technology’s Impact in Retail

1. It promotes Try-and-Buy to the Next Level

Many customers favour try-and-buy retail models, in which they may get a sample or test version of a product before buying the actual thing.

Customers were unable to view hands-on products with try-and-buy programs due to internet limits. AR, on the other hand, allows customers to virtually try on things from online shopping applications before purchasing. 

2. Lowering product returns

Online shopping has resulted in high return and refund rates, with retailers receiving more than $4.4 billion in product returns by 2021. Despite the hefty logistical expenses, retailers frequently notified consumers that they may keep the merchandise. During the pandemic, clothing and footwear had the greatest return rates, with health and beauty product returns reaching 4%. AR retail projects seek to increase consumer understanding, decrease returns, and benefit the environment.

3. Improving Product Personalization

Traditional online shopping experiences sometimes forego the human touch, such as visiting a store, chatting with a salesperson, and trying on things before making a purchase. AR-powered retail allows users to personalize parts of online buying, such as hanging a purchased picture on their walls, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for each client.

4. Enhancing Self-Service

Retailers may also merge mobile AR with actual storefronts to produce good self-service implications. Customers can just wave their phones in front of an item, and the AR software will display product data, assembly instructions, provenance history, and other purchase-related information. These products are beneficial in a variety of product categories, including DIY furniture, antiques, and indoor plants.

5. Brand Activation for Customer Outreach

Because augmented reality is a new and growing technology, AR advertisements tend to catch consumer attention. Ads on AR platforms may generate a lot of traffic and improve brand remember.

Companies may integrate augmented reality adverts in tangible, geo-anchored areas to present customers with an interesting insight into the businesses around them.

The Pros and Cons of Augmented Reality in Retail

The most significant advantage of employing augmented reality is increasing engagement in both online and in-person encounters. Customers who use a single brand’s AR app, for example, are less likely to move to a competitor.

AR retail experiences also create a lasting impact on customers, motivating them to return to online and physical locations to make more purchases. With their solutions, companies and others make it easier to create AR-friendly product catalogues.


To minimize consumer difficulties like counterintuitive demos or poorly implemented metaverse user experiences, AR firms must efficiently execute their eCommerce buying experiences.