Augmented reality (AR) has come a long way, be it in-store or in the eCommerce space. Retailers and inventive brands are looking to adopt immersive digital methods to drive customer engagement, increase their revenue, and improve brand awareness and loyalty.
The augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) market amounted to a forecast of 18.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 and is expected to expand dramatically in the coming years.
With such tremendous potential, retail businesses must envision adopting these technologies which will also empower businesses to develop and enhance their financial prospects. Augmented reality is a key transformation influencing offline customer engagement that brands and retailers are actualizing to digitize the customer experience. Execution of AR and VR in retail helps retailers and customers to always stay connected to deliver an unmatched customer experience.
What is AR Software?
AR software works in conjunction with devices such as tablets, phones, headsets, and more. These integrating devices contain sensors, digital projectors, and the appropriate software that enables these computer-generated objects to be projected into the real world. Once a model has been superimposed in the real world, users can interact with it and manipulate the model.
These solutions have additional uses aside from placing a 3D model into the real world. AR is commonly used for entertainment purposes—specifically gaming. This software can also be used to display contextual information.
Why use AR software?
As AR is still a young technology, it provides certain advantages to businesses that other software cannot offer. The following are just a few of the benefits to using AR software in your business.
AR technology allows potential customers to view and interact with your product or service before purchasing. This can enable them to make better-informed decisions.
AR technology allows users to embed various types of data onto content. People can point their device at a real-life object to learn whatever kind of information is necessary, instead of needing to search for it elsewhere.
AR solutions enable users to train employees more thoroughly than they can through documentation and meetings. This software allows trainees to learn job responsibilities by fully visualizing them, instead of just reading about job duties.
This software enables users to improve workflow and processes at their business. This is particularly true for manufacturing-based organizations. Factory line workers can spot potential dangers quicker, along with accessing necessary resources.
Engage your audience
Consumers are inundated with print and television advertisements for various products and services, to the point where they don’t pay much attention to them. Inserting augmented reality into advertisements will catch the eye of your target demographic.
Top 5 AR software for Retail
1) AR visualization software
This type of software enables organizations to create immersive experiences for consumers to interact with. AR visualization software users can upload 3D content and scale the image, adjust the colour, and incorporate the additional details needed to give the best user experience possible. These products are intended to give consumers a chance to visualize a product in their daily lives, whether that is a piece of clothing, new furniture, or other personal or business items. AR visualization solutions integrate with AR SDK platforms so that developers may create a personalized AR experience for their demographics. These platforms typically provide reporting and analytics functionalities so that organizations may understand how consumers interact with their products.
To qualify for inclusion in the AR Visualization category, a product must:
Integrate with mobile devices that support AR experiences
Allow users to upload 3D content
Enable users to edit 3D objects
Provide analytics on consumer behaviour
2)Industrial AR platforms
These solutions are typically used by organizations in the industrial field. These tools include interactive AR content that improves these employees’ productivity, effectiveness, and safety. Industrial AR platforms enable users to scan real-life objects and virtually add tags and other notes to those scans, facilitating improved on-the-job training. This also allows employees to access vital documentation whenever they need it. Many tools also have video access functionality to allow remote team members to see what the user sees.
To qualify for inclusion in the Industrial AR category, a product must:
Allow AR content to be uploaded onto the system
Enable users to scan objects to create 3D models of real objects
Provide the ability to annotate 3D models
Give remote users video access to view what the user sees
Interactive, remote video collaboration is helping customer-centric companies solve today’s problems and build for the future. Streem’s AR-powered platform affords teams the vision and data to see around corners and solve enterprise problems. Simply powerful; web-to-web video chat and support tools connect users in real-time to a professional who can leverage the augmented reality features of the phone to provide guidance, instruction, and take measurements. Streem’s revolutionary streaming video platform utilizes unprecedented AI to connect consumers and experts with a shared view of the problem-solving issues faster through exceptional customer experiences. Groundbreaking AI surfaces unparalleled insights and context to the remote expert. These insights enable experts to communicate more efficiently and capture the data required to improve processes and products
The Steam platform enables real-time remote video collaboration inside the business tools you use every day – giving your team the ability to support your customers with a view that’s better than being there. Steam’s interactive video enables direct connections to customers that deliver faster quotes, higher first-time resolutions, and eliminates the hassle and wait times. With enhanced customer interactions at every touchpoint, Streem empowers you and your team to adapt in real-time to business challenges.
4) Zap works
ZapWorks is the complete toolkit for brands and agencies that want to create fully customizable AR experiences across print, product, packaging, retail, advertising and much more.
ZapWorks is built for both designers and developers who want to push the boundaries of creativity and storytelling – no coding required. Using the ZapWorks ecosystem, you can rapidly build, instantly publish, analyze and scale immersive AR experiences across the complete customer journey.
Create immersive AR experiences utilizing our three core tracking types:
– Image tracking
– Face tracking
– World tracking
Then publish your AR experiences to the world via:
- The mobile web (WebAR) with QR Codes or deep links
- Custom branded codes
ZapWorks Studio 6 is our most powerful AR toolkit to date – featuring world tracking, face tracking, Sketchfab integration and the ability to publish to the mobile web via QR codes or deep links. The possibilities are vast for both first-time creators or experienced AR developers – whether it’s using our easy-to-use Project Templates to craft incredible, popular experiences without code or by leveraging our improved scripting editor to implement advanced functionality.
5) Zakeke – Zakeke is a cloud platform empowering e-commerce stores to offer their customers live Product Customization. By integrating it with your store, your customers will be able to customize your products with texts, images, materials, colours and more, before they buy them. The 3D Product Configurator offers an immersive and unique 3D shopping experience with AR, transforming customers into creators. Zakeke is the best Visual Solution for brands and retailers offering configurable, multi-option, and customizable products, both online & offline.
Based on the type of customization you want to offer, make sure you choose the right Zakeke tool:
- Product Customizer: this for businesses in the web2print, engraving or embroidery industries.
- 3D Product Configurator: this is for those who sell products that can be configured by the customers choosing parts, colours and materials (examples: a shoe where buyers choose the material, the sole type and the colour of the laces or a couch where they choose the leather colour, shape and type of feet)(Source: G2.com
Potential issues with AR Software
Cost:- One of the biggest factors that have hindered AR from becoming mainstream is the cost. It can be very expensive to purchase the hardware to support AR technology. Streaming the content is also very costly. Content for these solutions needs to be streamed in a very high resolution and rendered at a high refresh rate. This content also requires a large bandwidth for streaming. All these factors add up, making consumers wary of adopting AR.
Accessibility and education:– Due to the cost, AR technology is not too accessible to the masses. Since very few people are exposed to this software, it is hard for them to conceptualize the wide-ranging uses that AR can offer. Unless developers change the user experience and the messaging around this technology, it will be difficult to get past this hurdle.