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Rise in Augmented Reality Retail Services Predicted

02 April 2019 - 15:02 by Mike Price

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Within the next 12 months an impressive 100 million shoppers from around the world will take advantage of augmented reality (AR) technology to enhance their retail experience, according to the latest projections published by Gartner.

Researchers anticipate that AR will shape buying decisions not only in bricks-and-mortar outlets but also in the context of safe shopping online.

Almost half of retailers questioned said that they would be deploying AR and virtual reality (VR) in some form in order to give customers a better overview of products.

AR can be used to overlay a three-dimensional model of an item on a physical space in real time via a smartphone app. This lets users effectively showroom their potential purchases without having to visit a physical store to get first-hand experience.

Virtual reality, on the other hand, allows for entirely digital manifestations of products to be created and viewed as if the user was actually in the same space.

The arrival of this technology in the mainstream is predicated on the rollout of mobile handsets that are powerful enough to support the kinds of AR and VR services that retailers are developing at the moment.

This is good news for online outlets that do not have physical stores, while also providing retailers that have a high street presence with a new way to engage with customers that may not live close enough to one of their store locations to visit in person.

AR is arguably the more effective of the two technologies from a retail perspective, since it will work well when used to demonstrate and market a number of product types, from home furnishings to fashion items and electronics. As such, it is not surprising to see such a level of uptake predicted by analysts.