Gartner predicts big things for augmented reality in retail

Gartner predicts big things for augmented reality in retail

By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality online and in-store, according to Gartner.

“Retailers are under increasing pressure to explain the purpose of physical stores, and take control of the fulfilment and return process for cross-channel execution,” says Hanna Karki, Principal Research Analyst at Gartner. “At the same time, consumers are progressively defining the value provided by the experiences they receive from retailers. As a result of these pressures, retailers are turning to AR and VR to offer customers a unified retail experience inside and outside retail stores.”

A good example of this is Ikea’s Place app which enables customers to virtually ‘place’ Ikea products in their space. Additionally, AR can be used outside the store after a sale to increase customer satisfaction and improve loyalty.

Retailers can create task efficiencies or reduce the costs associated with designing new products. They can also enhance the understanding of information through advanced graphical visualization and simulation technologies. Pilots and implementation examples include Alibaba’s full VR shopping experience, virtual reality tours by Tesco, Adidas’ VR video to promote its outdoor clothing collection, and eBay Australia’s partnerships with Myer to create personalised stores.

Meanwhile, the space could get a boost from 5G mobile network technology. This can support multiple uses cases, such as real-time rendering for immersive video, shorter download and set-up times, and extension of brands and shopping experiences beyond stores.

“We expect that the implementation of 5G and AR/VR in stores will transform not only customer engagement but also the entire product management cycle of brands,” says Sylvain Fabre, Senior Research Director at Gartner. “5G can optimise warehouse resources, enhance store traffic analytics and enable beacons that communicate with shoppers’ smartphones.”

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