Will AR Save Brick and Mortar Retail Establishments?


It is estimated over 120 malls and 6,000 retail stores closed their doors last year. Why? Because their customers no longer believed they could compete on price, selection, or convenience. To stop the retail bleeding, a trend is catching on: Augmented Reality.

A guy testing out a Virtual Reality headset.

This technology offered through Microsoft HoloLens, Apple ARKit and Android ARCore, allows individuals to use a standalone glassware device or their smartphones and tablets to transform the world around us. AR provides static retail establishments the ability to overlay virtual products into their physical world, making the shopping experience fun and interactive for the shopper.

“Early adopters of immersive technologies will dominate the industry similar to those who embraced the internet many years ago,” stated Alan Smithson, CEO of MetaVRse.

Below are three companies that have successfully implemented AR: IKEA, Shoppers Drug Mart and Toys ‘R Us.  

IKEA Place

Ikea has released its own AR app to help customers visualize what IKEA furniture might look like in their homes or offices. It’s designed to easily swipe through its most popular collections, or filter by types of products like “baby and children,” or “chairs and desks.”

Shoppers Drug Mart

As Canada’s largest pharmacy chain, they are testing a web-based AR app at Sherwin Gardens in Toronto. This web-based AR system recreates a bedroom that contains a selection of cosmetics, snacks and other wares. When a product is chosen, an interactive 3D model displays the product, along with the cost and coupon information. The intent is to highlight, in an immersive way, the products Shoppers Drug Mart wants to push to the public that week.

Toys ‘R Us Play Chaser

This app allows shoppers to interact with the store’s products through AR games on their mobile device. Users can earn points by collecting virtual stars throughout the store. The free app is intended to give young shoppers a reason to extend their (and their parents) time browsing the aisles. View a quick overview of the app, here: https://youtu.be/7AvnLU8818s

Using augmented reality to see how a couch looks in a room.

Can AR Realistically Save Brick and Mortar Retail?

While this remains to be seen, each of the companies above agree AR has had a positive impact on their bottom lines. Brands that start working with immersive technology now, have a better chance of staying in business instead of facing a looming mall or store close in the coming year.

Set Up Your Own AR Experience

If you are unsure which system to choose from, contact the experts at Rentacomputer.com! We can bring in different AR headset rentals, smartphone and tablet rentals for you to try for a day, week or month! Call us today at 800-736-8772 to learn more.


Want to share this story on social media? Use these hashtags! #AugmentedReality #VirtualReality

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