Can AR help save retail?

AR is much talked about, but we rarely hear how it can be used creatively for brands. Here, Stink Studios’ James Britton examines the exciting and inventive possibilities for AR in retail spaces

Silicon Valley is doubling down on AR as the next big innovation of the smartphone era. But a recent study from Unity, one of the software companies leading AR development, suggests that brands and agencies are struggling to find creative applications for the technology.

In the meantime, brands continue to experiment with technology in bricks and mortar retail, but the results either tend to be one-off stunts that require expensive installation, or they focus on technology as an enabler for speed and convenience. But the shopping experience isn’t just about convenience these days. There’s a huge opportunity for brands to develop strategies for ‘retail as experience’, offering a more layered and imaginative customer experience (CX) overall.

Until fairly recently the function of the store was to drive sales, but today it’s just as important to provide a space where customers really experience the brand and what its values represent. So should brands be considering using AR to improve the customer experience in store?