Remember the time when everyone was talking about virtual reality (VR)? The ridiculous VR glasses, helmet and gloves, which never really succeeded in making you feel like you were part of the action.
You might also remember what you were thinking when Obi-Wan Kenobi appeared as a hologram in the "Star Wars" movies. That seemed impossible. Well, do a quick search for "Kinect + iPad" on YouTube. Today, it's actually a reality, rather, augmented reality.
Many of the videos you find may still look like a geek's dream and far from being ready for the mass market, but I beg to differ. The overlaying of digital data on the real world is here, and it's a valuable tool for merchants. Here are three reasons why augmented reality is important for retailers’ commerce efforts:
1. It provides a different kind of showroom. Why are videos so successful? They explain visually what a product can do and help consumers visualize how it will benefit them. I was recently looking for a cabinet for my living room and found many online as well as offline. What I couldn't tell was whether any of the cabinets would actually fit well or match the room. I wished I could take them home and see what they would look like, but that wasn't practical.
With augmented reality, however, I could have rendered the image of the furniture onto an image of my living room, helping to make my decision easier. The application could have told me whether the dimensions were right and if the shade of brown matched the rest of the room. The buying decision would have been quicker and I could have avoided taking an unwanted item back to the store.
As you think about your business, I'm sure there are plenty of examples of how augmented reality could help your customers visualize the products they're considering buying.