Augmented Reality (AR) is changing the way that brands communicate with potential customers. Though AR had existed since 1992, practical solutions in retail and e-tail are relatively recent. Let’s take a look at some fascinating case studies.

As you undoubtedly know, AR is an interactive experience of a real-world environment whose elements are “augmented” by computer-generated perceptual information. The overlaid sensory information is seamlessly interwoven with the physical world. In other words, it is perceived as an immersive aspect of the real environment.

A Short History of Augmented Reality

The first functional AR system was developed at the US Air Force’s Armstrong Laboratory in 1992 and was used as a new method of training for pilots. The first commercial AR experiences were used largely in the entertainment and gaming businesses.

In the meantime, other industries have also become interested in AR’s possibilities. Examples are knowledge sharing, educating, and organizing remotely distributed meetings. The world of retail seems to be the next frontier. Let’s take a look at some inspiring examples of AR that improves the shopping experience.

Wayfair: Decorate Your Home Virtually

Wayfair is one of the world’s largest online destinations for home furnishings and décor. In 2017, its proprietary AR application, WayfairView, had been integrated into its popular mobile shopping app on the ASUS ZenFone AR. The Wayfair app makes it possible for consumers to see virtual furniture and décor in their homes at full scale before they make a purchase.

Shoppers can simply look through the screen of the ASUS ZenFone AR, select a product, and virtually place it in a room to see how it looks and fits into their space. Shoppers can also move and rotate items to view every angle, visualize various layouts and perspectives, share with family and friends, and purchase all within the Wayfair app.

“The ability to actually see a chandelier hanging from your ceiling, place artwork on your wall, or unbox a new sofa in your living room in a matter of seconds represents the future of shopping for the home,” said Wayfair co-founder Steve Conine at the time.

Amazon: Try Thousands of Items

In the run-up to Black Friday 2017, Amazon introduced AR view, the AR option within the Amazon App for the iPhone. AR view allows customers to visualize the aesthetics and fit of products in their own living space.

Customers simply open the Amazon App, click on the camera icon, and choose AR view. They can then select from thousands of items—from the living room, bedroom, kitchen, and home office products to electronics, toys, and games, home décor and more.

Whether customers are buying a sofa or a kitchen appliance, they can overlay it onto their existing living space, and move and rotate it to get a full 360-degree peek from a live camera view to make sure it fits their style and aesthetics.

Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Mirror

The use of AR by makeup brand Charlotte Tilbury is very innovative. In physical stores, they installed a touchscreen mirror that enables shoppers to virtually try on each one of Charlotte’s famous 10 Makeup Looks.

All the Magic Mirror looks take into account the customer’s skin color and tones, thereby achieving a perfect natural blend and realistic rendering. The full range of products is available for trying on including foundation, blusher, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, lipliner, lipstick, and contouring techniques.

The overall experience prompted consumers to share user data with the brand, and book one-to-one appointments with makeup artists. Moreover, the Magic Mirror makes the connection between potential customers and the brand deeper.

BMW: Virtual Version of a Car

The BMW i Visualiser is an AR solution helping BMW sell cars. It allows buyers to view and interact with a full-scale, virtual version of the car through an app.

Using integrated sensor technology, motion tracking, area learning, and depth perception, the app allows buyers to configure and tour a life-size, virtual car anytime, anywhere. For example, users can select the exterior color and wheel rims they like, as well as make changes to the realistic and detailed interior. They can even turn on the lights and radio.

Customers can use the BMW i Visualiser wherever they want, and salespeople can use the app in the showroom too.

A Last Word

Augmented Reality is a trend that is really accelerating now. You may choose to dive into AR yourself to better present your proposition, but look before you leap. The DISRUPTR workshop will prepare you for an AR project and help you develop great ideas.