M-Retailing

Retailers with better mobile tech such as AR have more loyal customers, study finds

Businesses and brands that make the best use of new technology are more likely to build a loyal customer base, according to new research.

Augmented reality (AR) leads the way as the technology people most want to engage with, as 50% of UK consumers say they would be more likely to be loyal to a brand that offered them access to this type of visualisation experience either in store or online.

AR, which continues to grow in popularity following the release of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, is proving particularly popular among younger people with 69% of 18-24 year olds saying they would be more loyal to a business offering this technology.

This age group would also be more likely to shop with a brand that offered artificial intelligence like chatbots, according to a retail report by Manchester mixed reality business DigitalBridge.

But with 59% of 25-34 year olds, 48% of 35-44 year olds and 46% of 45-54 year olds saying new technology plays a key role in converting them into loyal customers, this potential is not limited to particular age brackets.

Being able to preview products in the real world to see what they’d look like and being able to “try on” multiple options before spending money are the main reasons consumers see the future of retail in augmented reality, although virtual reality and artificial intelligence tools like chat bots continue to feed the imagination.

David Levine, CEO of DigitalBridge, whose company specialises in developing augmented reality tools for the home décor market, explains: “Technology has completely changed how people shop and engage with businesses and brands but now the pressure is on to improve every point of the consumer experience.

“Since the new iPhones launched we have seen an explosion of augmented reality tools and consumers clearly see this technology as the thing that will move the retail sector into the future. Being able to preview products virtually at home before spending money is something retailers have never been able to let their customers do, but AR makes this a possibility and is something that will become more the norm as the technology continues to improve.”

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