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How do you prefer to shop?  A few clicks here and there online, with the product delivered directly to your house, or leaving your home and enjoying the retail shopping experience on the high street?

Online shopping is not only dominated by the millennials but is used and accessible for people of all ages. E-commerce and online shopping have made shopping more subjective and focused on the customer.  Interestingly, experiential marketing is paving the way across all shopping channels to offer a more true-to-life shopping experience.  This domain was implemented using software which uses the individual’s image to show how a product will appear on them, however, this mode was only restricted to fashion accessories and apparels. With the expansion of online product categories, a customer buying a Watch, or Furniture would also like to preview its appearance in the home. The answer to this challenge is Augmented Reality.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality integrates digital elements, such as screen layouts and 3D previews, with physical world surroundings to create a real-time shopping experience. Using this technology and being able to visualise the best fit for their requirement, demonstrates the benefits of AR to consumers.  AR allows you to preview how a product will look in your home, or clothing on yourself, even before buying it. How cool is that!

The benefits of AR are not only limited to shopping.  For example, Google Maps is testing the use of augmented reality to help with directions when walking.  In place of looking at a digital map, viewers may be able to look at the actual surroundings and pathways with arrows overlaid to help with navigation.

Retail websites are using this technology and experience, not just to impress customers, but to place the product virtually into a consumer’s life, leading to a potential purchase and increased revenue.  A huge issue for clothing retailers especially is the high volume of customer returns, AR has the potential to significantly reduce these returns and associated costs.  Augmented Reality comfortably bridges the gap between traditional and online shopping, and brings out the best of both worlds.


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