The world of retail is not one you would normally associate with technology. After all, the most recent major development in retail is online shopping, which was developed over two decades ago. While technology is growing at an exponential rate, retailing has fallen way behind.
Despite giving consumers the option to buy online, there are many things a brick and mortar showroom can do that an online shop simply can’t. Augmented reality and 3D models are the technological advancement that will finally bring retail and e-commerce into the present.
Try Before You Buy
With society moving towards a more virtual ecosystem, more and more consumers are looking towards online shopping as an alternative to shopping in person. The old process of trying clothes in store can no longer match the fast pace of today’s world.
Enter augmented reality and 3D models— 3D gives consumers such a better understanding of a product, it’s proven to double online conversion rates and reduce returns by 40%. Taking that one step further and using Augmented Reality to see the product in their environment have shown even hire sales rates.
According to CNBC, up to 40% of all items ordered online are returned, compared to 10% for instore purchases. Because of the massive amount of returns, billions of dollars worth of inventory is returned every year, posing a staggering financial and logistical problem. In fact, retailers end up having to throw away up to 25% of their returns every year.
3D and AR allows consumers to make an informed choice, reducing the amount of clothes that are returned every year.
The main advantage of having a brick and mortar storefront is the ability for the team to work with customers, giving fashion advice or help locating certain items. While online stores can offer suggestions on items, there is no personalized help. In addition a retail store may not have enough employees to provide the customer with the help they want.
With augmented reality and chat bots, retailers can provide an impromptu stylist for every customer. In addition to trying on clothes virtually, the virtual chat bot can suggest new clothes and add them to the queue for customers to try.
This application of augmented reality in the retail space not only provides customers with a more streamlined experience, but it may also lead to more sales.
An Infinite Showroom Floor
A traditional brick and mortar store is physically limited by the size of the store. This makes it impossible for smaller stores to stock everything they want to sell. Online stores risk being too cluttered and finding the exact item may prove to be challenging.
With real estate prices rising in major metropolitan areas, the idea of having a large storefront is less than ideal, especially for smaller retailers.
While higher end brands may choose to work around this by curating and offering seasonal selections, average brands may not have that luxury. This is furthered by the different fits and sizes that naturally come with apparel, footwear and accessories— resulting in stores having to remove items from their offerings.
Augmented reality and 3D modeling provides retailers with the ability to create their own showroom that isn’t limited by the physical limitations. In essence, the virtual showroom can be as little or as large as one would want it, with the only limitation being the amount of items they have to offer.