How augmented reality is changing the shopping experience

With consumers preferring to shop online rather than at a store, we have seen several retailers shut down this decade. However, companies are now adapting to new technologies to keep up with buyer habits.
Shoppers can see what they look like after applying certain products without having to actually use them. Photo: ModiFace

Augmented reality (AR) is being used by sellers to help their audience select their products. Much like how smartphone AR applications work, people can see how a product will look on themselves.

Big business

Engadget reports that L’Oréal is the latest large firm to apply the technology at its selling points. The cosmetics giant has partnered with Google Lens to pilot an initiative for shoppers to see how their hair will look in different colors.

At 500 Walmart stores across the United States, people will be able to virtually try different shades of Garnier Nutrisse or Olia hair colors. Several of those who dye their hair will be welcoming this move as they will understand how frustrating it can be to try a new color but to find out it was a huge mistake!

The beauty industry is the perfect match for innovations such as those from ModiFace. Photo: ModiFace

Try before you buy

The try-on stations are supported by beauty tech company Modiface, which L’Oréal purchased in 2018. The brand claims to provide a highly customized experience for the consumer, which manages to precisely simulate a beauty product.

The way that the tools are set up gives a somewhat entertaining experience. This is why these AR screens are propping up at duty-free stores in airports across the globe. With passengers often having hours to spare, they may be lured into trying out the system purely for entertainment purposes.

However, they then might like the way they look in a new style and purchase the product outright. It’s not just cosmetic firms that are implementing these systems. Google Lens has previously been helpful in discovering new art or trying different cuisines.

It has also been useful for being able to translate text on real world items to the language of your choice. This has assisted in preventing a tourist ordering something on a menu that they may dislike or be allergic to.

Google Lens also manages to capture information from online data to help consumers find what suits them best.

Google Lens can analyze photos to give recommendations on similar items within the image. Screenshot: Google

Let’s get phygital

By bringing digitalization to the physical world, companies are dubbing this experience as “phygital”. Gaps in the market are being fulfilled and new life is being brought to retail stores.

We could see further expansions with these set-ups over the years. Developments in virtual reality and artificial intelligence are also on the horizon.

By combining these three industries, retailers will be able to transform the way that their centers operate. This will enable shoppers to have a truly phygital journey when they visit a store or shop online.

What are your thoughts on retailers using augmented reality to sell their products? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

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