AR will become very important to retailers: here’s how

Although take up has been patchy so far, there is a bit of a buzz around augmented reality (AR) in the retail sector, and it is definitely getting louder. 

Kate Ancketill, the CEO and founder of GDR Creative Intelligence is something of an evangelist on the subject of AR in retail and the benefits of connecting the physical retail experience with the digital one. With 5G on the horizon she is certain that AR’s importance is going to grow even faster, and she has some advice for retailers who want to implement AR.

“I think AR is very important and becoming more important,” says Ancketill. “AR is relatively inexpensive to implement and it is getting cheaper all the time, and with 5G, when it comes on board we’ll have no latency issues.”

Ancketill thinks AR is going to bring all the best advantages of browsing the web into the physical environment, and that means cracking the omnichannel.

“A company that cracks omnichannel basically wins, and AR is a big part of that.”

Ancketill lists retailers Show Fields, Beta, Neighbourhood Goods and Storey, which she descrives as a new generation of department store arriving mostly in the US, as examples of the trend. 

“Places like  all of these have something in common, which department stores have been sadly lacking in. That something is frequent newness and uniqueness of product. They have products which are never seen anywhere else in the physical world and are only available online. 

“So you basically have to go there if you want to physically experience them. They’re usually concession based so there’s a frequent turnover and they’re usually very high tech, so you get great data if you are the seller.”

The idea of going somewhere where you see things that you’ve never seen before, cannot find anywhere else, will be changed in a month’s time and will have lots of experience based activities going on makes for a compelling offer says Ancketill.

“It is not rocket science that it is more appealing to today’s consumer with a very short attention span.”

But to win with AR as a retailer, you need to reduce your portfolio by at least 30 per ce, nt, she says, and make sure what you keep is in high footfall areas in places where people have money to spend. 

“Make it different every month, make it highly experiential, and make sure you fully connect the physical with the digital experience,” says Ancketill.


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