In-Store Shopping Is About to Get Amazing

Image Credit: Diego Zarulli/iStock/GettyImages

Remember 2013, when Google dropped its universally derided augmented reality glasses? Google Glass pissed off virtually everyone, from privacy advocates to music venue owners to regular people sick of tech bro nonsense. But even though Google has quietly semi-retired the project, augmented reality is still going to be part of our future — and it could be way more useful than your average game of Pokémon Go.

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Marketing researchers in Hong Kong and Singapore have just published an exciting new paper laying out how we could use AR while shopping in stores. While COVID-19 still has us mostly ordering things online, we're already in the early stages of integrating AR on our smartphones with in-person retail, in a non-goofball way. Here's what we can expect from AR at stores in the future:

Entertainment —​ Imagine interactive displays that tie in with the season's most popular movie franchise, or scavenger hunts that introduce you to new products within the store.

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Education —​ Car manufacturers are already working on using AR to show off features and innovations. Meanwhile, think of never being lost in IKEA again, thanks to an in-store navigation feature.

Evaluation —​ Preview how a product would look in your home or on your body. This is already available through certain retailers' apps.

Enhancement —​ AR doesn't have to stop once you've already paid. Lego offers add-on experiences for completed projects, while McDonald's has built a feature that shows us where our meal comes from.

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It's true, we could bounce off these just as hard as we bounced off Google Glass, but it's worth keeping an open mind about what we'll think is normal in the future. Everyone who loves immersive real-world games agrees that AR is already too cool to not try.

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