The Future of Shopping: Augmented Reality in Retail

Oct 24, 2017

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Augmented Reality gained a worldwide popularity after the launch of Pokémon GO, the famous mobile app.

AR requires interaction with reality. The technology allows overlaying digital information (graphics, sounds, haptic feedback, etc.) on top of the existing environment in real time. A mobile device camera or a special headgear enables to combine real life with a virtual world. 

Statistics

Investment into the technology is very promising.

According to Statista, the global Augmented Reality market is forecasted to significantly grow to about 90 billion U.S. dollars by 2020.

Concurrently, the revenue from augmented reality is projected to three times as high as that of Virtual Reality by 2020.

The worldwide smart augmented reality glasses shipments are expected to reach around 5.4 million units by 2020.

AR for a unique shopping experience

AR technology is already used across numerous industries such as healthcare, public safety, gas and oil, tourism, etc.

However, particularly interesting is the application of the technology in shops and supermarkets to provide customers with an enhanced shopper experience.

‘Supermarket of the Future’ in Italy

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Last year, Coop, Italy’s largest grocery chain, opened in Milan the ‘Supermarket of the Future’.

The concept of the interactive grocery store was first presented at the World Expo 2015.

About 6,000 products in the store are organized on interactive tables and shelves. The relevant information on a product (e.g., nutritional value, presence of allergens) are displayed on ‘augmented labels’ when a customer grabs it.

Furthermore, there is a large screen of over 50 monitors displaying additional information: top selling products, cooking suggestions, etc.

Interactive Tech Store in Germany

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This year, German tech retailer Saturn announced testing an AR alien Paula in selected stores of the country.

On the basis of Microsoft HoloLens smart glasses projecting 3D images and information, the digital salesperson explains specific products incl. Samsung Galaxy S8, Surface Pro 4, and Dyson Big Ball hoover.

The black-and-white creation escorts customers through the store presenting innovative products. Hence, Saturn’s visitors are enabled to experience the brand new technology in an interactive way.