How Augmented Reality is Changing Retail

By Kerry Young on Aug 23, 2019

Augmented reality (AR) has existed for decades, but recently we’ve seen a surge of applications. It’s not just apps like FaceApp (remember the #AgeChallenge craze?) or Snapchat making the most of AR. Many retailers are catching on to its capabilities to highlight their products in ways that capture audience attention and engage consumers like never before.

It’s clear that AR is changing many industries, including retail. Yet like many emerging technologies, without the right foundation in place, moving ahead with an AR implementation can be a costly mistake.

Challenges of Using Augmented Reality in Retail

While it’s tempting for retailers to utilize the power of augmented reality to reach customers in fresh, compelling ways, the technology can also put a magnifying glass on data quality issues. The experiences created by augmented reality can be dazzling; however, the AR program must still draw on high-quality data to produce a customer experience that gives you a competitive edge.

For example, if product data is incomplete or pulled from disparate systems, your AR implementation could provide your customers with inaccurate results. In such cases, AR can actually hurt the sales process as customers leave your brand or site for that of a competitor’s.

Steps to Ensure a Successful AR Application

Many of the AR applications related to retail leverage digital representations of a company’s products. These digital assets are often the backbone of an effective augmented reality tool. Therefore, if a product lacks associated digital assets, or the images are not linked properly to the product, the AR experience falters.

To make the most of the technology investment, AR programs must utilize digital asset management (DAM) to ensure their assets are linked to accurate, complete, and governed data.

When incorporating a Product Information Management (PIM) system with their augmented reality applications, an organization’s digital assets can be uploaded and enriched by various sources (suppliers, product managers, marketing) through a central product data hub. A PIM solution that includes DAM powers AR applications with trusted and up-to-date product data linked to enriched digital assets for the most compelling and consistent customer experience, regardless of the channel.

For example, a leading skincare and make-up retailer uses EnterWorks’ Enable PIM platform to power its virtual makeover (VMO) tool, which uses augmented reality to give users a realistic sampling of colors and shades at no cost on its virtual platform. This innovative technology allows their beauty consultants to reach customers in a fun, creative way to increase engagement and sales.

Customers can capture images of desired looks, share them on social media, and select items for purchase. The colors, shades, images, SKUs, descriptions, and assets are all powered by Enable PIM, managed through hierarchies and optimized specifically for the mobile and e-commerce platforms.

With the help of PIM, retailers like this leading skincare and make-up retailer can confidently capitalize on the engagement AR brings, knowing they can deliver fantastic customer experiences through accurate, trusted product data.

Have questions about combining the power of PIM, DAM, and AR? Talk to our experts!

About the author

Kerry Young

Kerry Young joined EnterWorks in 2006 when Ennovative, Inc., the multi-channel publishing software company he co-founded, was acquired by EnterWorks. He directs EnterWorks’ operations and leads EnterWorks’ professional services and consulting organization, ensuring effective customer implementations and ongoing success. Mr. Young brings more than 25 years of technology and business management experience to EnterWorks, having served as CTO for a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, and earlier as VP, Information Technology for Marshall Industries, a $1.7 billion industrial electronics distributor. He previously managed information systems for a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mr. Young holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from California State University Fullerton.

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