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Augmented Reality Retail Mistakes (& Solutions)

December 15, 2020

61% of shoppers prefer to shop at stores that offer Augmented Reality over ones that don’t, according to a survey conducted by Retail Perceptions. That statistic alone should perk up any retailer’s ears, let alone the others:

  • 68% said they’d spend MORE TIME at a retailer if they could shop with AR
  • 40% would PAY MORE for a product they could experience through AR
  • 72% had purchased MORE ITEMS than they planned on because of AR

Clearly, consumers want and enjoy Augmented Reality shopping experiences, and retailers benefit across the board. In the past, only big-brand retailers could afford Augmented Reality, but that is no longer the case. Now, retailers, big and small, online and in-store, are integrating Augmented Reality into their customer’s shopping experience with Web AR.

What is Web AR?
Web AR doesn’t require an app! The Augmented Reality content can be seamlessly integrated into an existing online store or website. Customers can also access it by simply pointing their phone’s camera at an Augmented Reality QR Code. It’s extremely user-friendly and effective.

In retail, it is most often used for:

Augmented Reality Retail Mistakes & Solutions

Even though Augmented Reality is an obvious next step in e-commerce, its effectiveness depends on several factors. To make the most of the investment, retailers need to avoid making the following mistakes.

The Mistake: Using AR Just to Use AR

As cool as it is, Augmented Reality should not be used for the Wow Factor alone. Using AR just for the sake of using AR will probably cause a blip in your sales, but won’t achieve big or long-term success. Too many retailers and brands are rushing into AR, only to deliver dead-end experiences that don’t drive sales or conversions.

The Solution: Clear Goal in Mind

Augmented Reality content and features should be carefully chosen and integrated into your sales funnel. For instance, retailers must know if their goal is any one or a combination of the following:

  • Drive overall sales
  • Drive sales in-store
  • Drive at-home sales
  • Promote a new or particular product
  • Product education
  • Improve customer conversion
  • Improve customer loyalty
  • Improve brand visibility
  • and more…

With a clear goal in mind, retailers can optimize the Augmented Reality experience and sales funnel accordingly. 

Boot Barn created an innovative Direct Mail campaign using postcards that come to life through Augmented Reality, targeted at a pre-existing customer mailing list. This postcard would feature a promotional discount offer only available through engaging with the AR experience. The company had a clear objective: To engage and increase sales within their existing customer base around the launch of a new Autumn product line, Wonderwest. The Augmented Reality campaign increased sales for Boot Barn as well as increasing the consumer engagement of what would of been a standard print campaign. The Augmented Reality element added a layer of interactivity and digital analytics that beyond that of standard print.

The Mistake: Inaccurate or Unrealistic Augmented Reality Content

No matter how good the idea, if done poorly, it will have the opposite effect. That is true of pretty much anything, including Augmented Reality. In this area, retailers are often making one of two mistakes:

  • Trying to get away with the bare minimum
  • Trying to do too much with too little

If the Augmented Reality content is inaccurate or unrealistic, sales will dip and returns will increase. If those features do not accurately display the product, then customer dissatisfaction (and product returns) are going to worsen. Overall, customers may question the quality of your entire brand. 

The Solution: Focus on Quality

Customers turn to Augmented Reality to make their shopping experiences easier. They depend on it to boost their confidence in the product they are purchasing. That is why Try-On and Place-in-your-Space AR is so popular. But regardless of the Augmented Reality content retailers use, their focus should be on quality above all else. Yes, even if that means they can do less with their budget.

For instance, retailers could focus only on their second-best selling product as opposed to their top three. 

Samsung approached us to develop an interactive and engaging Web AR experience for use within the Samsung #LifeUnstoppable virtual event. Showcase the upcoming Samsung product range in full 3D Web-based Augmented Reality. Viewers should be able to activate the experiences directly from the livestream and view select products in 3D from within their own home. Custom animations were associated with each product experience to increase interactivity, providing high quality, realistic Augmented Reality.

The Mistake: Bad Tracking Ability

“Tracking” is how Augmented Reality interacts with real space. It is one of the most important factors, especially when it comes to Try-On or Place-in-your-Space AR content. Retailers don’t want customers to use AR to try on lipstick, only to have it appear on their forehead. Yet, this is a common mistake retailers make.

The Solution: Use an Experienced Developer

While this may seem like an obvious solution, it is one many overlook. As the popularity of AR grows, more developers are popping up to meet the demand. Unfortunately, many developers are simply opportunists and don’t have the skills to really deliver. They try to offset their inexperience with low prices, and too many retailers fall for it. 

Instead, do your research and select Augmented Reality Solution Providers with a solid AR portfolio.

The Mistake: Slow Speeds

Whether we like it or not, we live in a culture of instant gratification. Slow loading speeds or glitchy AR experiences are going to undermine your efforts. Typically, any AR experience over 20mb puts too much load on a 4G network. Yet, retailers are so anxious to provide the most incredible experience that they ignore technology’s limits. As a result, their bounce rate is the only thing to jump, not their sales.

The Solution: An Experienced Developer (and 5G!)

An experienced developer knows how to make the most of the network limits. While an AR experience constrained to the limits may not be as flashy, it will be much more effective. But! Thankfully, those limits are quickly falling away with the launch of 5G network. 

5G Augmented Reality is, well, awesome. And that’s saying a lot since 4G Augmented Reality is already amazing and extremely effective. But as 5G networks continue to roll out, Augmented Reality experiences are going to grow with it.

The BIG Solution

In truth, the question is not IF you should be integrating Augmented Reality, but HOW. Don’t make the last mistake retailers often make: latching on to one form of AR. Even as a retailer, your best AR solution may not be Try-On or Place-in-your-Space. You should consider each of the following to determine what solution best serves your goal:

When looking for Augmented Solution Providers, Aircards should stand out. We have created AR experiences for huge retailers and brands, like Boot Barn, Bon V!V, Kinder, and more. Contact Us for a no-pressure consultation and free demo.

Read Next: Web AR in Retail: How AR Brings Your Business to Life