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How AR Can Improve The Customer Journey In Outdoor Retail

Augmented reality is drastically changing the way the customer journey happens. It's not just an enhanced customer experience, either. It can produce a number of positive results for a business, too. If you're in the outdoor retail industry, you owe it to yourself to discover how this new technology is making a big splash.

A More Immersive Experience

Years ago, consumers would sit on their couch and watch commercials on their television in order to learn about different products on the market. However, augmented reality is providing more than a two-dimensional view. It generates computer images of a person's view to modify the reality of using a computer.

The global market for AR products is anticipated to surge 80% (up to $265 billion) by 2024. It is a powerful tool for a number of industries, including the retail industry.

Imagine being able to try on a winter coat virtually before you buy it so that you know what it will look like. Consider trying on a pair of snow goggles to see if they are going to comfortably fit your face. Grab a virtual golf club and swing it so that you can get the feel of it. These are all possible with augmented reality, which allows you to give customers a chance to experience something online before they buy it.

AR + Ecommerce

One of the biggest reasons why people don't shop online is because they want to physically hold something in their hand. They want to be able to try it on, hold it in front of themselves, or move it around. This is particularly true with the outdoor retail industry. People are buying all sorts of sports equipment that they will use outside.

By embracing augmented reality, you have the ability to give people a way to try things on and see how they work in their own reality using computer-generated images. It helps to eliminate the argument of why people want to shop online. You break those barriers down so that people can enjoy all of the convenience of e-commerce without any of the negative components.

A number of retail sites are allowing you to try things on virtually. You can scan your face or upload an image of your entire body. From there, virtual versions of what you have can be tried on. It allows people to see the shapes of goggles, the colors of jackets, and even the way an outdoor backpack would fit. Depending on the interactive app that you provide people, they will be able to move the product around, look inside of it, and pretend as though they were holding it in front of them at the store.

Allowing for Innovation

It's important to be able to give customers what they want. According to Shopify, approximately 70% of consumers expect retailers to launch an augmented reality app within the next six months. However, nearly 2/3 of companies aren't even using augmented reality – and some still have no idea what it is.

By launching AR for your business, you are able to guide people on an immersive customer journey that uses technology that they not only expect but demand. This allows you to be innovative as well as competitive, particularly since many companies have yet to embrace AR for all of the benefits that it can offer.

In-Store Shopping

If you have a product line that you are selling through other retailers, offering a B2B experience, consider how you can improve the in-store shopping experience. If someone is looking at one of your products within your client's store, you can have people engage with the products by scanning signage. It allows people to read customer reviews, explore the various product variances, and learn more about the pricing. This makes it easier for the stories you work with to sell your products. It can also reduce the number of questions that team members have to field.

Augmented Reality & The Customer Journey

As a B2B company in the outdoor retail industry, you're able to use augmented reality in a variety of creative ways. Give people the opportunity to try on clothes. Additionally, allow people to interact with the products using an app or through your website so that the stores you sell in have an additional marketing piece that will help to move products. Augmented reality can be used for e-commerce as well as in-store shopping. It allows customers to immerse themselves in the products that you offer while giving you the innovative, competitive edge needed to compete in today's marketplace.

Augmented reality is certainly a game changer when you apply it to the customer journey. If you want to drive more traffic to your website or app, it's worth looking into. It might be just what customers need in order to confidently purchase products from you.

UX Director, Principal UX Designer, Strategist
Rick has been designing user experiences since 1999 and managing UX teams since 2005. As a leader, he helps people be the best designer they can. He continues to consult, having led engagements with universities like Emory University, UNC, UCLA, and University of Minnesota as well as mission-driven companies like RedHat, Stickergiant, and Obermeyer.