The world of retail is forever changing. The period we’ve been through and find ourselves in right now has had a huge effect on the shift change, and the speed at which it is happening is unprecedented.

The outbreak of coronavirus and the lockdown that followed has been good to online. Former Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe commented that: “Online groceries have taken 25 years to get to 8% of our business and eight weeks to get to 15%, and it’s still growing like there’s no tomorrow” This is being seen across all industries that have an online presence.

“A decade ago UK e-commerce sales were <5% of total retail sales. In March, we hit a record high of 22.4%, April 30.7%. Expect May will be closer to 35% and then we dip back to high 20s for foreseeable future even w/ shops reopening. Habits learned during lockdown will stick,” retail analyst Natalie Berg took to Twitter to comment.

In a Response to Berg’s tweet, John Roberts, Founder and CEO, AO, commented that: “We saw five years of consumer behaviour change accelerate into five weeks. Now we’ve got to prove to our new customers that online is a better way even when it’s not the only way.”

This is where new technologies like AR are coming into play. The thing physical retail has held over online for the longest time is the experience. This, however, is no longer what it used to be.

Social distancing and the aftereffects of lockdown have removed the ability to interact with products as we once did. Changing rooms are closed in clothing stores, we’re being discouraged from picking up or interacting with products in all other retail stores and the ‘personalised’ shopping experience just isn’t a thing anymore.

By using new technologies like AR, online can take those missing experiences, morph them into something new and allow you to enhance what it means to shop online.

AR allows your customers to bring your products into their homes, try it out in the space, flip it around, watch it work, move it about and get a sense of what it’ll be like to own it. This is in some cases even more than shopping instore can offer.

Over a quarter of respondents (26 per cent) in a recent survey, conducted by YouGov on behalf of Diffusion, said that AR led them to think of a brand as hi-tech.

Our AR solution, Ares, does all of this and more. Delivered right in the browser, it removes the need for customers to download an app and leave your site. It enhances the shopping experience and offers your customers a truly immersive way to get to know your products.

And customers want to use AR. 34% of customers already use some form of AR while shopping and 47% of them use it both in a store and online when shopping. But that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to augmented reality impacting retail.

In our blog, How is Augmented Reality Impacting Retail? We highlighted these with our eBook. You can view a copy of it here, but we’ve brought some of those stats right here to emphasise that if you’re not offering AR, you’re being left behind.

 

  • 71% of shoppers said that they would shop more often if they could use AR.
  • 61% said they would choose to shop with stores that have AR over those without it.
  • 55% admitted that shopping with AR makes the experience more fun and exciting.
  • 40% of shoppers said that they are ready to pay more for a product if they were able to test it through AR first.

 

AR adoption is on the increase and it is on the verge of becoming an expectation when it comes to shopping online. Companies like ASOS, Etsy, Yoox, Lululemon, Gucci, Burberry and Uniqlo (to name just a few) are all working on or increasing their AR offering for their clients. The more this happens, and the more companies join this revolution, the more it becomes an expectation.

AR is becoming the new ‘mobile responsive’ for websites. The idea now of having a website that doesn’t automatically adjust to a mobile device and give the best experience to the end-user is unthinkable and even gets penalised by the likes of Google.

Now is the time to be implementing AR into your online digital offering. Be at the leading edge of what customers associate with an exceptional shopping experience and separate yourself from your competitors.

With the drive to shop online increasing and almost becoming the first point of call for many, you have to find a way to stand out. AR helps you do this. And looking at what Houzz CEO Adi Tatarko said, “users of their AR tools were 11x more likely to make a purchase” those of some conversion statistics that you could be taking advantage of.

Take a closer look at Ares, then reach out and talk to us about how we can get it implemented on your digital store.