Leading the Way in Retail Innovation: The Role of Augmented Reality Installations in Your Brick-And-Mortar Stores

Learn the benefits of AR for you and your customers

You walk into a busy clothing store with your tired and slightly cranky kids, ready to shop for back-to-school clothes and see the long line snaking to the fitting room. Ugh, this shopping trip is about to test your patience.

And then your kids see the virtual mirror and fitting room. Your kids have gone from cranky to excited about buying new clothes. Next thing you know, you’re sitting in a comfy chair by the virtual mirror watching your kids try-on new clothes. Everyone leaves the store happy and relieved to have back-to-school shopping done with just one store visit.  

This isn’t just a dream family shopping experience – it’s the reality for many people thanks to augmented reality installations. From virtual mirrors and virtual show rooms that let your customers try products before buying to window displays and graphic installations that entertain and educate – augmented reality (AR) is changing the retail experience for the better.

What is Augmented Reality in Retail?

Augmented reality (AR) in retail is technology that connects virtual and real elements. Using a mobile device such as a smartphone or integrated store technology such as a virtual mirror or in-store display, customers can see how your products fit into their lives.

From making it easier to try on new clothes to seeing how a piece of furniture would fit into their home – augmented reality literally merges digital and real-life.

How Augmented Reality Installations Benefit Customers

Seeing truly is believing. You are more likely to make a purchase when you have zero doubts about it. Think of how hard it is to choose new furniture – imagining how it will coordinate with your existing décor or buying a car when you cannot see the vehicle in your preferred color.

With AR installations, you give customers more control over purchasing decisions and remove the doubt that prevents people from following through with a purchase.

These statistics about AR and brick-and-mortar retail underscore the value for you and your customers:

  • 66% of surveyed consumers are interested in using AR to help them make purchasing decisions
  • 86% of surveyed consumers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience
  • 90% of surveyed consumers use their smartphones when shopping in retail stores
  • 40% of surveyed consumers say they would pay more for a product they can personalize in AR

(Statistic sources Think with Google, Shopify, Retail Touchpoints, and Fingent)

Coupled with these real benefits for your customers – augmented reality installations can give customers a complete shopping experience:

  1. Personalized: 91% of surveyed consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands and stores that remember their preferences, recognize them, and provide relevant and personalized suggestions and offers. AR installations can bridge the gap between anonymous and personalized shopping with virtual mirrors, personalized product catalogs, personal digital in-store sales assistants, and more.
    Some shopping malls have smartphone apps that deliver a personalized shopping experience based on customer preferences – creating 3D maps and shopping routes that guide customers through the mall to their preferred stores where items are preselected and set aside for the customer.
  2. Convenient: virtual fitting rooms and virtual mirrors bring a new level of accessibility to shopping for clothing, shoes, jewellery, glasses, and makeup. All too frequently, customers abandon items in-store due to wait times, crowded fitting rooms, or lack of sales assistance.
  3. Control: the more control a customer has over their purchase, the greater their customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and repeat purchases. For example, when you give your customers tools to see how their new kitchen will look or control over designing personalized sneakers, they are empowered and derive greater satisfaction from their purchase.
  4. Immersive: visiting stores is not always about shopping, it’s also about the experience. We know the average shopper makes up to three impulse purchases in four out of 10 stores they visit. Using innovative AR installations in your window displays or with in-store displays, you give people a reason to walk into your store, relax, and browse – ultimately encouraging a purchase decision.
  5. Education: your customers have questions – questions that your sales team may not be able to answer. Using in-store AR product catalogs and design tools, your customers can find and see all the information they need to make an informed decision. This reduces exchanges and returns and makes it easier for people to buy.

From large ticket items such as choosing car color options and dashboard features through to furniture and smaller purchases such as makeup or custom shoe design – AR can help put customers at ease with their spending decisions.

How to Use Augmented Reality Installations to Deliver an Innovative In-Store Experience

Augmented reality installations can allow you to showcase your products and services in new ways delivering a modern retail experience that translates to brand loyalty and increased sales.

  • Virtual Navigation: let’s face it, the traditional mall map is challenging at best and in big box stores, customers can quickly feel overwhelmed just trying to find the right aisle.

    Virtual navigation apps can provide dynamic walking instructions to find products in-store and deliver a personalized shopping map for a mall or retail area. Brands and stores can even highlight sales or products that match customer preferences, encouraging store visits and providing a personalized shopping experience.
  • Window Displays: your window displays are the gateway to enticing customers into your store. You need to turn heads, get people excited or intrigued, and show them why they need to walk into your store.

    AR window displays can literally do whatever you want – from dynamic seasonal displays featuring a real-life Santa Claus or Cupid, to a product showcase highlighting key features, or even a virtual concert that grabs attention and entertains. AR window displays are only limited by your imagination.
  • Virtual Product Catalogs and Tours: taking the product catalog one step further from a glossy flyer or magazine, AR allows brands to take shoppers on a guided product tour. Challenges with supply chain issues or limited square footage are eliminated with an AR product catalog that can for example, show a customer every available burgundy chaise lounge.

    Your virtual product catalog could include full product descriptions, anticipated delivery dates, and let the customer see how the new chaise lounge coordinates with the rest of their furniture.
  • Visual Merchandising: you know people want to visit brick-and-mortar stores and you also know that people want more than just a shopping experience when they visit your store. Your retail store is more than a display of your products – it’s a community hub, education center, and entertainment experience.

    Use AR visual merchandising to transport customers to a campsite where they use camping gear before buying it or to communicate your product story including how materials are sourced and manufactured.

  • Virtual Fitting Rooms/Virtual Mirrors: simply put, virtual fitting rooms and virtual mirrors make it easier for you to sell clothes. Wait times for fitting rooms are eliminated. The hassle of getting an additional size or style is gone with virtual mirrors that can adjust to dynamically fit a pair of pants or bra without assistance from sales personnel. And for people who are not interested in taking off their clothes or are shopping with children in tow, this technology makes clothes buying relatively painless.

    This creates a more relaxed shopping experience, converting to more sales and fewer change rooms overflowing with abandoned clothing.

How Augmented Reality Technology Benefits Retail Brands and Stores

AR technology helps retail brands and stores by delivering a personalized customer experience that converts to:

  • Improved brand loyalty
  • Fewer returns and exchanges
  • Greater customer satisfaction
  • Strengthened customer engagement

It is important to remember that while AR technology can be a game-changer for many brands – it is not the right fit for every brand and their customers.

Do not rush into a technology just because another retailer is doing it. Make sure you know why you’re using AR and how it truly benefits your customers.

At Dynamic, our unique combination of IN-HOUSE offerings makes us your single source provider for all your retail fixture and visual merchandising needs. No one understands retail design and installation better than we do.

Contact us to learn how we handle every aspect of your business – from an individual installation to a global roll-out.