Role of augmented reality in making retail future-ready

Integrating augmented reality (AR) into businesses is helping customers have an interactive experience, which is further enhanced by visual, auditory, and haptic sensory modalities.
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India has been growing at a fast pace and is more accepting of adopting advanced technology to support businesses. With technological progression guiding the way, several industries across various verticals are exploring different drivers of growth, opportunities, and success.

The retail industry, too, is not far behind when it comes to tapping into new advancements and strengthening the roots to secure its future in the country. One of the key factors accelerating profitability and helping retail to be more competitive is augmented reality (AR).

The country has been observant of different technological reforms and is experimenting with augmented and virtual reality for a while to progress further. Integrating augmented reality into businesses is helping the customers in having an interactive experience.

The objects of the real world or a reflection of people is often improvised by computer-generated perceptual information. This experience is further enhanced by visual, auditory, haptic sensory modalities.

India’s growing fascination with augmented reality

According to a global report published by YouGov, India shows an intense interest in adopting augmented reality and virtual reality to proliferate the growth of Indian retail.

The country is emphasising on rejigging the sector with new technological advancements and levelling up the retail shopping experience as the report reflects nearly 67 percent of India inclining towards integrating augmented reality in clothes category and about 56 percent in home-appliance category.

Keeping under consideration the shopping behavioural pattern of Indian customers in the past few months, it is evident that retail is getting traction and strategising to create new horizons of success to capitalise on the growing demand and opportunities in the market.

Stepping stone for retail

With the pandemic hitting the country, the businesses took the blow. Retail, too, was impacted severely in the initial phase of the global health crisis. However, this crucial time also helped the sector in understanding how physical stores will not be operational and it is time to digitise and integrate more tech advances, especially to instate online trial rooms and level up the “try and buy” option for customers.

Establishing a robust virtual presence and introducing features that use augmented reality proved to be a stepping stone for the retail sector as not only the live showrooms and walk-in virtual stores got traction but also helped in matching customers’ expectations, aiding them to make a choice that suits their preferences.

Augmented reality or Xtended reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is branching out and forming ties with virtual reality to form extended reality, also known as Xtended Reality (XR). The latest version of augmented reality joining hands with virtual reality is trending across the world and is anticipated to be the centre of attraction for the coming years.

AR screens and tablets are integrating the extended services and enhancing real-world ambience by overlaying digital details, graphics and images.

The most relatable example of the same would be remodelling and design applications that allow one to refurbish the virtual environment while giving the illusion of real-time interaction and environment.

The future of augmented reality

The giants in the industry, including global beauty brands and other retail companies, are adopting augmented reality and enabling their customers to digitally test their products. Creating an in-showroom replica to try the products has been helpful until now.

The future of augmented reality is growing more secure by the day as the retail management platforms incorporate it in their portals to further help local retailers along with other retail owners.

Reimagining the retail scenario with smartphones and using scan codes to further step in via different social media platforms is empowering the industry like never before.

From selfie-lens features coming into play to AR-based games helping customers in picking out their favourites, augmented reality is witnessing its ascent.

The path ahead

AR is enabling society to stay at a safe distance as it stringently follows the suggested guidelines and has been eliminating human contact with the virtual in-store experience.

It is also reflecting how it is here to stay with its post-COVID modus operandi that will be different from the pre-corona times and people will opt for preventive measures to keep themselves safe still.

AR is rejigging the retail industry and catalysing the technological revolution with its features and thus showcasing its potential while it increases the efficiency, reach and profitability of retail businesses. It is further expected to take a new turn and develop a more intense sensory experience for the users in near future.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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