KEY POINTS

  • The mobile augmented reality (AR) market is quickly becoming primed for the retail space. By blending the online and in-store shopping journeys, mobile AR promises to provide a truly immersive digital shopping experience. This could push consumers to increasingly shop online and help the e-commerce market evolve, while also driving awareness and bringing in foot traffic to physical stores.
  • Nearly 75% of consumers already expect retailers to offer an AR experience. Twenty percent of consumers surveyed by DigitalBridge said they expected retailers to have an AR tool immediately after iOS 11 was released in September 2017, while nearly half expected retailers to launch AR features by the end of March 2018.
  • Retailers can reap several benefits by leveraging AR to improve the shopping experience. Mobile AR can help build brand loyalty, heighten engagement, increase geographical customer reach, shorten conversion times, boost purchases of larger items, and cut down on returns.
  • Retailers in certain segments, including furniture and home improvement, as well as beauty and fashion, have been the first to jump on the mobile AR bandwagon through their own apps. These sectors appear to have the most immediate need for mobile AR strategies, as trying out furniture and clothes are two of the most-coveted AR use cases by consumers.
  • They’re also using social media to reach consumers through mobile AR experiences. Platforms like Facebook and Snapchat continue to build out tools that businesses and developers can utilize to enhance their advertising strategies with immersive experiences.
  • But retailers and brands will have to consider several factors before implementing their mobile AR strategies:
    • The high cost of building AR experiences. Building AR solutions in-house can be extremely costly and difficult, making it an option only for large retailers with significant resources. However, third-party specialists are moving in to fill this gap.
    • A lack of AR-compatible smartphones. Mobile AR apps can only be accessed by consumers with smartphones that are compatible with Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore, which is constraining consumer and retailer adoption at the moment.
    • Low consumer awareness of mobile AR apps. Users are warming to mobile AR, but there’s still a long way to go before it becomes a standard consumer experience. Over two-thirds of the 2,000 US consumers surveyed in an ARtillry report said they haven't tried AR on [...]