Retailers are looking to capitalise on the rising gravitation toward AR and AI
By Kanav Singla
New-age technologies like augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) have transformed the way marketers and businesses interact with their customers. Among other major technological developments, these two have stood out in last few years. Yet, the existing capabilities are only touching the surface of what they can eventually be able to do. Analysts project a yearly growth with the market value increasing up to $89,847 in 2025 from $11,284 in 2019.
Similarly, research shows that the market size for AR will scale up to approximately $209.2 billion in 2022 from $6.1 billion in 2016. With this anticipated boom, retailers are looking to capitalise on the rising gravitation toward AR and AI so as to make highly personalised recommendations to consumers as customer satisfaction is key.
Enhancing Store Navigation with AR
As there is widespread use of smartphones, the popularity of the device is making them the primary target for the implementation of AR technology. The mobile apps on these smartphones employing personalised AR navigation are helping retailers deliver next-level customer engagement online. If a consumer wishes to search for a product by a general term, particular brand name, unique product code, these apps enable the shopper to search in different ways, as per their individual needs.
Once a consumer searches for a desired product on the app, they can easily tap on the specific item to start navigating from the shopper’s exact location on the product’s shelf location. Simply by following their phone’s AR-enabled navigation to each item, the consumer can complete their trip with greater ease than ever before. Using AR to navigate a store better as per one’s preferences or existing shopping lists enables customers to experience easier search and discoverability of applicable products.
Moreover, connected stores can be built and facilitated on AR functionality. Virtual try-on started off as a marketing approach by high-end brands across cosmetics and fashion brands, where most of them integrated mirror and colour and accessory try-on features into their apps. The idea then became popular as customers loved how they can try on different makeups and accessories, see if they match with their skin tone and dresses without having to visit a store. In addition, brands are using systems that capture everything together to give it a more realistic and interactive three-dimensional and AR experiences to consumers. This also enables VTO with the help of any smartphone device, laptops or cameras. Thus, it feels as real as actually being there.
Using AR to Boost Sales
The point of purchase in sales gives the exact time and location when a customer pays for a product or service. The online purchase can be processed through a virtual point of sale, such as website, landing page or mobile app. Making sure that the customer is fully engaged during the entire point of purchase is essential for avoiding abandoned shopping carts. Increasing sales via visual engagement has shown proven results, delivering greater consumer conversions and ultimately achieving a greater level of success for businesses.
AI-driven personalisation makes its mark
When it comes to AI technologies, it’s evident that personalisation tactics scale revenues for brands and retailers. AI can play a powerful role in creating a rewarding shopping online experience. At its most sophisticated level harnessing AI, personalisation looks at and analyses browsing behaviour, makes guesses about which underlying attributes are the most important, and then shows other products to the customers ordered by their attribute relevancy to what it’s guessing you’re looking for. The more you interact, the more information it can use to make guesses, testing and discarding or revising according to how you respond to what it offers up. This is a basic version of machine learning.
Although the term ‘artificial’ may mean something dehumanised, but this non-human thing has allowed companies to provide a more personalised shopping experience for their customers. AI makes it possible to analyse millions of interactions on a daily basis. Even with the large data, the technology boils down to a single customer – the feel every marketer wishes to provide. Sales teams are now equipped with the information they didn’t even imagine having. They can now personalise the sales cycle using AI-driven software. The apps help the sellers to engage with the right prospect with the perfect message at the right time.
Looking to the Future: Happy Shoppers are Key
Customers long for the day they can leave a store feeling confident in all of their purchases, unhindered by thoughts that they could have bought more relevant items or annoyance from wasting too much time deciding what to buy. To help shoppers avoid these negative feelings and instead feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, retailers are increasingly making it their mission to help shoppers both determine what they want and find what they need in real time.
Customer relationships are changing dramatically as CX is becoming a differentiator. Brands have recognised the game-changing abilities of introducing AR into their pre-sales, point of sale and post-sale support operations. Via a smartphone, AR enhances practical elements of personalised marketing, sales and technical support, by extending content and interaction abilities, and providing value that goes way beyond simple novelty. These examples are just a small sampling of the potential AR can deliver across the customer relationship value chain and throughout the entire customer journey.
Though pegged a technology of the “future,” fully functioning AR and AI technologies are a concept that is not too far off the distant horizon. As retailers revamp their stores with these features, shoppers will feel cared for as they are assisted at every touch point of the process. The result is not only elevated sales, but also the development of loyal shoppers — the key to a thriving business.
The author is founder and CEO, Adloid. Views expressed are personal.