Augmented Reality Goes ‘Shopping’

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Philips TV Buying GuideWith IBM’s much promoted shopping app and the new augmented reality shopping trend becoming increasingly popular in the fashion world through various types of virtual dressing rooms, why not take this a step… sideways?

3D visualisation, augmented reality and a mobile device’s camera can create an enhanced augmented reality experience by making any virtual object look as real in your house as you would see it in a shop.  Designing your home interior, from selecting the type of floor you like to choosing the furniture that fits your style, no longer requires endless shopping trips, annoying measurements or tens of inaccurate pictures taken.

AR developers such as the Dutch INDG, the French Augment and the US Your Reality (in partnership with Total Immersion) have managed to push AR’s role in (e)commerce into more practical uses, leaving the gimmicky phase behind. Companies have also started to understand that AR has to be smartly integrated into the customer journey and can’t provide any long-term benefits as a standalone tool. Philips’ TV Buying Guide for Mobile is a very good example of how augmented reality, 3D visualisation and high end flat screen TVs can improve the buying experience and potentially contribute to higher conversion rates. With an easy-to-use user interface and great graphics, the app allows users to discover how Philips products will look in their home before committing to buying them.

And Philips has not been the first to do this. Ikea is another example of good integration of augmented reality within the shopping journey with their 2010 IKEA app that allowed users to select a piece of furniture and place it anywhere inside their homes. Although the graphical and AR capabilities were not comparable with what is available today, the small app was one of the first to provide this functionality to customers.

With businesses understanding the importance of one of the Top 10 Disruptive Technologies of our time (as Gartner named augmented reality), we will surely be seeing more innovative integrations of AR in the online and offline shopping experiences.

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