Why Augmented Reality Is Driving the Next Era of Digital Retail?

We are entering the third digital era. The first came along with Amazon back in 1995. The second came along with the launch of Apple’s iPhone in 2007, which was more digital than the first one. And the last era is related to augmented reality.

Unlike its best-known counterpart, virtual reality, the augmented reality is more about technological enhancements that can aid the real world. Truly, all this while we have been underestimating the power of AR. Research reveals that the AR market valued USD 3.33 billion back in 2015. But, it will grow to USD 133.78 until the year 2021. Isn’t that amazing? The CAGR or Compounded Annual Growth Rate is 85%.

As the AR industry is currently booming, it is benefiting the digital retail with it. Let’s see how:

Spatial Tagging

Many new platforms are utilizing sensor fusion and computer vision for indoor mapping that doesn’t require GPS. The ARtech kits such as ARKit and ARCore by Apple and Google respectively are being used to integrate the visual world with the physical world.

What does this mean for retail stores and merchandisers?

They can allow their customers to use smartphones for drawing a purchase map without actually finding the product aisle. It can reduce the time the customer has to spend searching for desired items. The AR technology implemented here can also be utilized to suggest similar products when a particular item is expected to go out of stock soon.

This technology is a gateway to increasing user experience and reducing retail barriers faced in daily lives.


We can’t stop talking about IKEA’s place app. This app, is by far, the best possible adaptation of what we would like AR to be in the years to come. Along with user feasibly, the app makes a good selling point. Honestly, the application is in itself a great marketing strategy.

We all shop on several e-commerce platforms. But, the soul-satisfying moment of trying a pair of shoes and knowing it fits is often left behind. IKEA, though doesn’t allow you to try on a pair of shoes, it allows you to place a piece of furniture in your house and see how it will look.

Similarly, Adidas collaborated with the social media giant Snapchat to allow users to try running shoes.

Sephora is utilizing a digital facial recognition technology to enable its users to digitally try on makeup products.

All these inventions using AR are nothing but a marketing act. And we all know it is going really well.

When you don’t have time to go to the store, you can simply tap into your smartphone and access an array of products. All these brands have displayed their marketing message loud and clear – making the impossible, possible.

Enhanced AR Experience

Just when we thought we need a smartphone to experience AR, it went beyond that. There are all types of AR modifications today.

For instance, Timberland now has virtual fitting stations.

What does this even mean?

They have AR-powered window displays. If you are passing by their storefront, you can try different outfits in a blink.

Many other retailers are using this technology in different ways such as in a mirror, which allows the customer to try on glasses without actually wearing them.


In just a few years, AR technology has made all the difference. It is making far-fetched dreams of retailers real and it is doing it really well. With ARkit and ARCore, every retailer has a chance to enter the world of augmented reality and deliver utmost customer experience.

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