LONDON: There are many applications and use cases for augmented reality (AR) at all stages of the shopper journey but it is essential to take a shopper-centric or UX approach to planning, rather than a media- or brand-centric one, two industry figures emphasise.

Writing in the October issue of Admap, Omaid Hiwaizi, global head of experience strategy at Blippar, and Debbie Ellison, head of digital at Geometry Global UK, argue that this view unlocks the specific points to influence purchase behaviour, which in turn determine which touchpoint and content to activate.

They outline six ways in which retailers can use AR to make the shopping process either more frictionless or fulfilling in a process they describe as Augmented Retail.

At a basic level using things like a Snapchat Lens an create social buzz and get people thinking about the brand in question and triggering a need or a shopping mission.

But “AR really starts to come into its own when location is factored into the experience”. So, for example, enabling the content displayed to be contextual, allows it to help in navigating physical environments – not just showing a store on a map but pointing out the route and the destination when the user is close.

In an extension of that, some large-format retailers are enabling shoppers to locate particular products and aisles using AR flags and direction signs. “AR technology, coupled with store data, proves to be a potent mix which can enable personal shopping experiences – adding a huge amount of value to the physical store,” the authors say.

Beauty brands like Max Factor have also successfully used AR to assist with product selection, using AR to see how a shade of lipstick or foundation would match a shopper’s own smartphone pictures.

Beyond these, there are possibilities for AR use in actual the purchase process, using an app to make shop windows shoppable for example, and in the post-purchase phase, when brands can helping a shopper get the most out of the product.

“Purchase intent, and weight and frequency of purchase can be positively influenced by Augmented Retail,” say Hiwaizi and Ellison.

“Executed well, it means that shoppers, brands and retailers can all win.”

Sourced from Admap