Augmented Reality sounds complicated, high-tech and intricate. But do you know, it is highly unlikely that you haven’t used it yet. All these Snapchat filters you see, and the immersive games you play, like Pokémon Go, are all Augmented Reality. But of course, there’s so much more to it than a few Snapchat filters and games. Augmented Reality today is less of a gimmick and more of a powerful toolkit to assist online and offline shoppers in navigating an increasingly complex retail landscape.

The main question is, what exactly is augmented Reality, and how is it changing customers shopping experience online?

What is Augmented Reality (AR)?

Augmented Reality (AR) is a cutting-edge technology that seamlessly integrates virtual components into real-world settings, creating an unparalleled level of engagement between users and an app or platform. Augmented Reality is a digital experience that combines real-world surroundings with computer-generated sensory input, like video, graphics or sound, which comes in handy for the consumer. Augmented Reality is very different from other digital experiences, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR), because it does not create an entirely separate digital realm. As consumer expectations grow for a more exciting and interactive shopping experience, augmented reality tools are enabling customers to experience a better understanding of product offerings while being immersed in brand storytelling.

Augmented Reality and the Metaverse 

Augmented Reality is bridging the gap between shoppers’ online and offline retail activities. The hybrid nature of AR lets more significant numbers of consumers carry a fragment of the Metaverse with them wherever they go, all set to tap into the brand’s latest creations and innovations within the comfort of their own homes or inside a store. By letting consumers interact with product offerings, user manuals, and marketing campaigns more effectively within physical and digital spaces, augmented Reality allows for more purpose-driven shopping experiences that span multiple channels.

In what ways are brands utilizing augmented Reality to create hybrid retail services?

Consumers are reliant on e-commerce to buy larger, more complex items such as appliances, furniture, makeup, Jewellery, and so much more. Augmented Reality is helping consumers to preview products within the comfort of their homes before investing in any product. AR apps allow online and in-store customers to better understand their purchasing decisions by combining their real-world environment and immersive digital information to give more context to a product. It brings a more hands-on dimension to digital shopping while also giving shoppers other tools to assess products before visiting a store location to check out a product in-person.

Many top brands introduced AR technology via their apps, allowing customers to visualize furniture, clothes, makeup, Jewellery and many other items from the comfort of their homes from different angles. It helped them visualize whether the desired product looked good or not. One of the few brands that embraced AR are IKEA, Sephora, Warby Parker and, of course, Amazon, which offers Amazon View functionality, where customers can pick and choose the ‘View in Your Room’ tool to place any Amazon products within their surroundings.

Virtual Try-ons 

Customers shopping for clothes, accessories or cosmetics face the most adversity when it comes to ‘trying’ on clothes or products in advance. Getting to style and experiment with different looks and products, often with store representatives’ recommendations, has long been a key part of the buying journey. However, many companies have banned testers during the pandemic due to hygiene concerns, making it more challenging for both in-store and e-commerce customers to purchase products with satisfaction.

The newest AR technology has paved the way for shoppers to virtually try-on products. This technology makes everything easy breezy without the commitment of purchasing or visiting a store location. Sephora’s Virtual Artist AR app allows makeup fanatics to try out cosmetics from various brands via its advanced facial recognition software, which ensures the correct placement of the blush, lipstick and eyeshadow for a variety of skin tones. This is also integrated with interactive tutorials with tips on how to apply different products to maximize their effect.


All in all, Augmented Reality lets you experience a more fun side of everything. Businesses don’t have to neglect this technology because of the few benefits it represents. But the higher engagement rates will boost overall company revenue, motivating many companies to offer these services. AR is on the rise, and yes, it would take some time for customers to accept and help it expand globally. But, in the near future, we will definitely see it taking off massively!