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Why Augmented Reality Will Be the Next Revolution in Retail

Abstract from http://www.strategy-business.com

In the summer of 2016, pedestrians on New York’s Fifth Avenue encountered crowds of (mostly young) people, hastily running into Central Park, smartphones in hand, shouting out Pokémon names and cross-street locations. Within days of its release on July 6, 2016, Pokémon Go, an app that brought the 1990s gaming craze to virtual life, became a phenomenon. Its 40 million daily active users (at its peak) surpassed those of Tinder, Snapchat, and Twitter.

The people who embraced the augmented reality of Pokémon Go live in a world where the line between real and digital is so blurred that they essentially became one and the same — constantly augmented and improved by invisible technologies. And they are hungry for better, more personalized experiences.

AR, which has been around since the late 1960s, has long lived in the shadow of virtual reality (VR).

Whereas VR wants to transport us to a new virtual world that provides unique immersive experiences, AR brings these experiences to the world we already inhabit.

Today, we’re in the first, introductory phase of applying AR to the retail experience: over the long term, it is clear companies must use AR to lead customers through four stages:

  • Creating Awareness
  • Growing Engagement
  • Converting Attention to Action
  • Building Loyalty

Ultimately, we are likely to see integration between AR, big data, and machine learning. The final result will be an intelligent personal shopper that can provide consumers with information, recommend products, and even look for special bundle deals and coupons, depending on the shopper’s preferences and behaviors.

Augmented reality clearly has the power to transform retail. However, it will pay dividends only if stores and brands learn how to translate foot traffic into desired action and become seamlessly integrated into the experience.

To be sure, some skepticism is warranted. But in the 21st century, paradigm shifts that used to take years now routinely happen in months. Just as retailers came to rue not investing earlier in e-commerce, or a Facebook presence, or mobile purchase apps, they may regret not investigating the potential of AR more aggressively.

More details at –  http://www.strategy-business.com

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