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Shopping with Augmented Reality

Posted February 12, 2021

Young man on phone shopping.

Try it before you buy it. That’s how the old saying goes, but even in today’s digital retail environment, most shoppers prefer testing a product before they commit to buying it. As we all experienced over the last several months, however, many customers were stuck inside of their homes without this option. And if they “did” decide to make purchases online, they risked a complicated return policy that caused more grief than satisfaction. 

So during a pandemic, how do retailers compete and offer shoppers that “try-it-on-first” experience to help reduce buyer’s remorse and the hassle of returns.

Make Way for Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) has been around for decades, but it wasn’t until the later 2000s, with the emergence of smartphones, that retailers really took note of its potential. 

Brands like Wayfair and Amazon, for instance, use AR to help customers visualize what a certain lamp, desk, or stylish furniture would look like in their living spaces. Zenni®, an eye-glass manufacturer and retailer, uses a similar AR-enabled app that allows customers to see what a new pair of eyeglasses would look like on their face before adding the item to their cart. 

By overlaying 3-D images of products in real time, AR provides a way to try-before-you-buy while in the comfort of your own home. 

Will AR Make Its Way to Rosedale Center?

Actually, AR experiences are already here. You heard us right! Over the holidays, Rosedale announced the launch of a new, interactive, and AR-mobile app experience, Rosedale Dash. Think Pokémon Go for Minnesotans who love a good sale! 

Shoppers would download the app, walk around the mall and start seeing glowing shopping bags and coins appear on their phones. And the more coins they collect, the more “real” prizes they can grab at the end of each game:

“We want to move people around the mall; we want them to experience different parts of the center that they may never have experienced before,” said Sarah Fossen, Director of Marketing & Experience at Rosedale Center.

But Rosedale didn’t just stop there. They also launched different types of Instagram shopping experiences, such as inviting different influencers to share their Rosedale stories with followers, who would then tag along as they shopped in stores, as well as bringing QVC-like experiences via Instagram Live to help users find (and buy) the type of merchandise they want. 

By pairing the two experiences together, Rosedale offers more custom experiences to support customers and their changing needs. For instance, those who wish to remain at home, can enjoy a customized shopping experience but still feel like they’re at the mall. And customers who want to venture outdoors can benefit from this technology ahead of time before making a final purchase—or maybe just play a fun game collecting coins and winning prizes.  

Pairing AR with In-Store Retail Shopping is on the Rise

With more businesses opening back up to the public, the time has come for brands to merge the benefits of AR and in-store shopping together to create a truly personalized retail experience. 

Stay connected to our blog for more tips and industry insights in retail shopping and the marketplace. 

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