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Half of consumers would choose AR to augment retail experience and build loyalty

More than half of consumers see shopping enhancement as a key role for Augmented Reality (AR), putting them at odds with where the AR industry thinks its main role should be.

Research from Snap reveals that, as consumer expectations of the possibilities of AR grow, a major gulf remains when it comes to brands’ perception of how consumers want to use it – with retail leading the way as the main reason people engage with the technology.

The study of more than 25,000 people across 11 markets, in partnership with Ipsos, highlights mainstream adoption of AR amongst consumers and reveals massive opportunities for brands to use AR to engage, inform, entertain and build customer loyalty.

The UK survey finds that 94% of brands still perceive ‘fun’ as the main draw for people to use AR. In fact, only 54% of people think of it this way, with over half (55%) of UK consumers listing shopping as their top reason for engaging with AR, revealing a huge opportunity for brands to provide shoppers with more relevant AR ecommerce experiences. 

AR powers a new shopping experience

Consumers say AR makes their shopping experience better, easier and quicker. 6 in 10 said it helps them shop in new and exciting ways; while 82% of brands that use AR said it allows them to provide a seamless customer experience, helping to drive conversion. 

They see AR as a tool to experience a product before making a purchase. More than three quarters (79%) of respondents said they were interested in using AR to ‘place products’ in their environment to visualise how they’ll look. Meanwhile 57% revealed they’re more likely to buy from a brand that allows them to try on an item using AR. 

Virtual try-on represents an untapped opportunity for retailers

While 77% of people are interested in using AR to interact with a product before buying it, only 48% of brands have implemented virtual try on experiences. For example, 73% of people are interested in using AR scanning codes to find more product information. Currently only 30% of brands who use AR have implemented these.

Some 64% say AR makes it easier to experience the work of their favourite designers, while 80% of people and 82% of brands believe AR has the potential to help the environment by reducing returns. 

AR boosts loyalty for brands

Brands already using AR report its significant positive impact on loyalty. 64% said it improves loyalty and customer experience. 82% of brands said it helps to drive sales, acquire new customers and drive performance metrics, while 88% said it improves engagement and appeal to young audiences. It helps their customers to explore the world, connect with others and improve themselves. 

Fintan Gillespie, Head of UK Business Solutions Snap, comments: “250 million Snapchatters engage with AR everyday and this report highlights the huge untapped potential of AR for retailers. This technology is transforming the way we shop and it isn’t an opportunity way off in the future – it’s happening right now. We’re excited to see the scale of opportunity for brands to showcase products, push creative boundaries, drive value and most critically – improve conversions to drive real business results.”

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