Augmented Reality for Retail

Just a few years ago, a lot of companies marked Augmented Reality just as a hype, something to play around, mainly for the marketing. But more than more, the retail industry recognized the huge potential which comes with this technology and created the first AR-Apps. But AR in retail is more than just providing an AR-App to the customer, this article will show up, which opportunities are available for this industry.

AR as a visualization

The goal of AR as a visualization in retail is, that it can be shown to the customer, how a product, visualized as a 3D-object, can be acting under certain circumstances. Besides this fact the customer can imagine the product much better, it is important to create a WOW-effect for the customer.

Best example for the use of an AR-App as a visualization is the IKEA-App. IKEA launched an augmented reality catalogue to enable their shoppers to visualize how their product could look inside their home. The shopper just has to place the hardcopy catalogue somewhere in the room, choose one of the products in the AR-App and the piece of furniture will be placed virtually in the room. But not only that, the APP measures the size of the original product against the surrounding home to offer a true-to-life size where possible. [1]

AR as information gathering

With the AR-Technology, the retailers have the possibility to provide all available information about a product to the customer. That transforms the information gathering about a product more into a game than a laborious task. In these days everything is a complex product, regardless of whether it is a simple garment or a complex product such as a car. The time required from the user to obtain the desired information – time to  be contented – can be minimized with an AR-APP. So the potential buyer can be provided relevant information quickly and easy in a simple way. The more complex the product is, the greater is the value of Augmented Reality.

A good example here is HEINZ Ketchup. The customer has the possibility to scan the bottle and will get a lot of information about HEINZ, the product itself and cooking recipes, which would be suitable for this product. [2]


AR for an interactive shopping

To use the AR as an interactive shopping element creates a win-win situation for the customer and the company. The company safes personal costs, because the customer can be left unattended at the store for some time. The shopper itself can play around and see how a clothing, a make-up or jewelry acts on his own body.

Just a few good examples of an interactive shopping. The most common one is the virtual try-on-site. With this feature, the customer can do a pre-selection of clothes, without spending a lot of time in the store before. Of course only these garments are displayed, which are available in the right size at the store, and they will be delivered straight to the dressing room. The customer no longer has to search for the right clothes in the right size, everything will be made automatically. [3]

Another good example for interactive shopping comes from the cosmetic industry. An interactive AR-Screen provides tips, which other make-up products would be suitable for the customer. The corresponding make-up can be selected, on the screen the make-up is applied on a photo of the customer.


The best and efficient way to use AR in the retail industry is to combine all of these three possibilities. During providing a virtual 3D object, the customer should be provided with all the available information, the same should be done during an interactive shopping in a store. [4]


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