Can AR help shoppers get where they need to go?
For years, retailers, brands and tech companies have been trying to find the perfect use for augmented reality (AR). Now a startup is launching an AR app meant to enhance a retailer’s shopping experience by improving in-store navigation.
The solution called the Blippar Visual Positioning System allows retailers to set up AR content throughout their spaces, according to TechCrunch. The system helps customers find their way through grocery and department stores — as well as non-retail spaces, like stadiums — by letting them access an AR overlay that points them in the right direction. The demo also suggests that the system can also overlay other information over store layouts, such as product ratings and promotions.
A YouTube video demonstrates how the solution guides a user walking through an office with arrows superimposed over the floor and animated objects positioned throughout the various rooms.
While the demo is impressive, the act of walking with a phone or a tablet while shopping could be clumsy for users. While headsets that provide a fully immersive AR experience, such as the Magic Leap One, are coming to market, it remains to be seen if they will catch on.
Some in the tech world see AR as the inevitable next big thing, but the technology’s popularity has fluctuated in and outside of retail.
In the summer of 2016, the launch of AR game Pokémon Go led to an explosion of interest in the technology. Even retailers such as Starbucks began allowing their stores to officially double as in-game “gyms” to capitalize on the foot traffic. But the trend was short-lived with active users dropping off by 90 percent within a year, according to reports discussed on TechRadar.
More sustained use cases for AR technology have appeared in areas like home furnishings, tested by retailers including IKEA and Lowe’s.
- Blippar is using AR to help customers find their way indoors – TechCrunch
- Pokemon Go showcases potential of augmented reality in retail – RetailWire
- Report claims Pokemon Go loses 90 percent of its users but still makes crazy money – TechRadar
- Will turning Starbucks into Pokemon stops boost coffee sales? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is enhancing customer navigation within stores and malls a good use case for augmented reality tech? How do you see AR primarily being used in retail settings over the next five years?