Study Finds AR More Useful In Operations Than Sales For Retailers

retail augmented reality

New research shows that more retailers will be utilizing augmented reality (AR), but not in the way originally predicted.

According to ABI Research, while AR will most likely struggle to become popular among customers in brick-and-mortar stores, it can be extremely useful for online customers who are unable to physically interact with the products they want to purchase.

“For consumers in brick-and-mortar stores, however, AR can disrupt the customer journey and provides little additional value overall,” Nick Finill, senior analyst at ABI, said in a press release.

Mobile Marketer reported that retailers like Target are utilizing AR to boost the customer experience. Last week, the retailer debuted its Target Beauty Studio, developed with Perfect’s YouCam Makeup app, which allows customers to “try on” different types of cosmetics using AR filters. The technology offers improved hygiene compared to physical cosmetics testers, decreases waste and makes for a more convenient experience, as customers don’t need to try on a variety of products to find the item they want to buy.

And for the in-store employee, AR will be able to provide operational efficiencies, while also improving the quality of services at brick-and-mortar stores.

The data also shows that retail will see a steady rise in the use of AR devices, with smart glasses from manufacturers such as Vuzix already being used by many retail employees to assist with front and back-of-store operations. And ABI predicts that by 2022, over 120,000 stores will be using AR smart glasses globally.

In addition, ABI forecasts that by 2020, 3 percent of eCommerce revenue will be generated because of AR experiences – a total of $122 billion in revenue worldwide.

“The relative ease of integrating AR into existing mCommerce platforms and the impact this can have on the user experience will largely drive customer demand,” Finill said.