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THE MOBILE AUGMENTED REALITY OPPORTUNITY IN RETAIL: How retailers are using mobile AR apps to improve customer engagement and boost sales

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This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.

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 an immersive digital shopping experience unlike anything shoppers have seen before.

Business Insider Intelligence

Mobile AR is one of the most coveted technologies for improving the digital shopping experience among consumers. That’s because mobile AR can be used to bring the in-store experience to consumers’ homes by recreating the try-on experience. It allows online shoppers to test out multiple sizes and variations of products, or just see what a product looks like overlaid into their home — without making a true commitment to the purchase or a trip to the store. It can also be used in-store to quickly provide product information or guide users to the right item using location-based services.

Retailers that meet this need for mobile AR stand to pull ahead of the competition. 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.

In The Mobile AR Opportunity in Retail Report, Business Insider Intelligence examines the importance of mobile AR to businesses in the retail space, explores the various ways brands are utilizing mobile AR to enhance the customer experience as well as their own, and determines the factors retailers should consider when devising a mobile AR strategy.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Nearly 75% of consumers already expect retailers to offer an AR experience. Mobile AR retail experiences are more likely to come to fruition as Apple and Google continue to build out their AR developer platforms, ARKit and ARCore, respectively, which will expand the addressable market exponentially.
  • 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.
  • Social media is emerging as a prominent channel for retailers 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 will have to consider several factors before implementing their mobile AR strategies. These include the cost of building AR experiences, the availability of AR-compatible smartphones, consumer awareness of mobile AR apps, and the quality of mobile AR content.

In full, the report:

  • Explores the ways mobile AR brings value to the customer shopping experience.
  • Highlights how the consumer benefits of mobile AR can be transformed into valuable outcomes for retailers.
  • Discusses how major retail brands are leveraging mobile AR to enhance the customer journey, and what goals they are striving to achieve.
  • Outlines the several factors retailers and brands will have to consider before implementing their mobile AR strategies.

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