The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by data analytics, social responsibility, e-commerce, and supply chain risk management and the growing importance of technologies such as fintech, blockchain, and augmented, virtual and mixed reality, among other AI-based technologies. In the last three years alone, there have been over 156,000 patents filed and granted in the retail industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Virtual and augmented reality in retail: AR commerce. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 115,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the retail industry, there are 50+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
AR commerce is a key innovation area in virtual and augmented reality
Augmented reality (AR) Commerce is the use of augmented reality technology for online retailing. It allows a shopper to virtually explore products and visualize how a product would fit into their environment, from the comfort of their home.
GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 190+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established retail companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of AR commerce.
Key players in AR commerce – a disruptive innovation in the retail industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to AR commerce
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
The leading players in the AR commerce space in terms of patents filed for the retail industry are Nant, Nuro, Walmart, Cox Enterprises and eBay. Walmart announced new augmented reality features on the Walmart app designed to make shopping easier. The addition of AR allows customers to view furniture and home decor items in their spaces with a few simple swipes on their phones. Walmart app users are able to view how a TV will look in their homes, so they can find the perfect fit for their space.
Product visualizations, virtual showrooms, and interactive product demos are the main applications of AR commerce in the retail industry. The biggest advantage of AR commerce is that it allows customers to experience products online before making a purchase, allowing them to get a first-hand experience of the look and feel of the product in their own environment. This allows customers to make informed decisions, significantly reducing the need for returns or replacements.