By next year 100 million consumers will shop online or in-store using augmented reality (AR) as the advent of 5G promises to enhance the technology.
According to business research and advisory group Garter, both AR and virtual reality (VR) technologies will be rolled out in 46 per cent of retail stores by 2020, in order to meet increasingly demanding consumer expectations.
“Retailers are under increasing pressure to explain the purpose of physical stores, and take control of the fulfilment and return process for cross-channel execution,” Garter’s principle research analyst Hanna Karki said.
“Consumers are progressively defining the value provided by the experiences they receive from retailers. As a result of these pressures, retailers are turning to AR and VR to offer customers a unified retail experience inside and outside retail stores.”
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This integration is expected to be further accelerated by the introduction of 5G worldwide in 2020, promising extremely high bandwidth and extremely low latency, allowing for real time rendering of immersive video and shorter download and setup times.
A separate Garter survey indicated that AR and VR applications of 5G represent the highest expectations for driving new revenues in retail, allowing brands to extend the shopping experience beyond stores.
Garter’s senior research director Sylvian Fabre added: “Gartner expects that the implementation of 5G and AR or VR in stores will transform not only customer engagement but also the entire product management cycle of brands.”
“5G can optimise warehouse resources, enhance store traffic analytics and enable beacons that communicate with shoppers’ smartphones.”