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Augmented reality (AR) is still a fresh term in many people’s minds– but that doesn’t mean it’s not already making an impact. AR is predicted to disrupt various industries with e-commerce and retail being one of the largest. In fact, according to a recent report, “71% of shoppers would prefer to go to stores with a “try-it-before-you-buy” AR experience.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic amplified the growing shift from brick and mortar businesses to digital commerce. An important lesson that may have come out of 2020, is that every business must be digital. In fact, there has been a 129% year-over-year growth in US and Canadian e-commerce orders as of April 21st and that trend is likely to continue. However, retail businesses struggle with presenting products without the physical object in store like before. Not only that but businesses that sell larger or more unique products– like furniture or jewelry– are having issues with product imagery. 

The solution to change and a new landscape? Adaptation– via emerging technologies like AR. 

AR is powerful because it will merge the gap between the physical and the digital worlds. Small businesses who implement AR will no longer have to worry about how they are going to showcase their products without a physical storefront.

One of the biggest issues to successfully selling larger items online is the customer’s fear that the item won’t fit or look good in their space. Additionally, as a consumer, being able to observe small details or features on the item can be crucial before making a final decision. Popular stores like Lowes have already found a way to work around that problem by giving their customers access to AR. Potential buyers can now see what their new grill will look like in their backyard– without ever leaving their home. And this is just the beginning for AR in the online retail space.

Many companies are beginning to take advantage of technologies to assist with product visualization. Using augmented reality, a consumer can get a full-sized, 3D realistic view of what a product will look like. Businesses have a once in a lifetime opportunity to embrace the new way people are going to buy in the future. By incorporating augmented reality onto their platform they will be much more successful. AR will transform the customer experience for the better– and small businesses who are looking to maintain a competitive edge should understand the power of AR. 

Before the blink of an eye, we will see the way AR will transform and disrupt the retail sector. 2020 is only the beginning of a massive trend towards augmented reality, AI, and other immersive technologies. 

What trends do you expect to emerge this year?