The increased cost of living has caused shoppers to be more diligent in how they spend their money and put a squeeze on customer loyalty.

As prices for essentials like food and bills have risen and pressure on household budgets has increased, many consumers have and continue to decrease their overall spending on non-essential items into 2024. Shoppers have become more cost-sensitive, spending more time searching for the best deals, both in-person and online, and prioritising lower prices over brand loyalty.

Retailers can no longer rely on repeat business because their stores are conveniently located and must work much harder to satisfy shoppers. In response, consumers also expect retailers to respond to their concerns and challenges.

Keeping customer loyalty

Retaining shopper loyalty is crucial for retailers, especially in challenging economic conditions. Retailers must navigate new ways to retain consumers, adopt omnichannel strategies, and invest in new technologies to stay ahead of competitors.

Retailers that invest in AR technologies can revolutionise the personalised shopping experience and improve the experience for consumers, both in-store and online. In stores, using AR apps on mobile devices, shoppers can overlay digital data on physical products in real-time, providing quick access to information such as product specifications, pricing, customer reviews, and colour options. Through this experience, consumers can get a deeper understanding of the product’s features and benefits and make purchase decisions faster. With WebAR, these product features are also accessible to consumers from anywhere, without the need to visit a physical store.

Personalised experiences

Virtual testers and virtual try-on AR technology create memorable, user-centric personalised experiences for consumers. Virtual testers are particularly useful for homewares and furniture, allowing consumers to check how items would look in their homes before purchasing.

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For example, Wayfair’s View in Room 3D feature on its app uses AR to overlay digital images of their products into shoppers’ homes. The true-to-scale digital furniture can be moved around and viewed from various angles, allowing consumers to predict and have a better understanding of items before purchasing. AR also allows shoppers to browse products in different colours and materials, even if they are not physically available in-store.

Virtual try-ons

Virtual try-on AR technology allows shoppers to visualize how clothing, accessories, cosmetics, or other products would look on them without physically trying them on. This boosts consumer confidence, giving consumers a realistic preview to make informed decisions, as well as offering convenience and time-saving benefits to both retailers and shoppers. Shoppers can have a more effective and simplistic try-on process, get a better product view, and have their questions answered without help from retail staff.

Cosmetic brand L’Oréal offers virtual try-ons, skin shade assessments, and skin diagnosis to consumers. Shoppers can try on a whole range of shades of cosmetic products without physically applying these to their skin, a previously laborious process.

Using AR technologies provides a fresher way of delivering product information to create memorable experiences that capture attention and curiosity and increase consumer engagement in the brand. Implementing customer-centric experiences with AR will help differentiate retailers in a crowded market, strengthening consumer relationships with brands and keeping customer loyalty.