The $53B Business Waiting in the Wings: Augmented Reality

Emma Stevens

It’s taken a lot longer than it should – particularly considering the rapid rise and comparative sophistication of online shopping – but ‘physical’ retail is finally starting to get ‘phygital.’ Working with our retail customers we are helping to drive powerful in-store customer engagement with ‘next stage’ solutions, including Augmented Reality (AR).


AR, as it continues to evolve, has the potential to transform the retail industry. Last year, analyst firm IDC anticipated that the AR/VR industry could reach $53B by 2022. Much like mobile, which waited its turn for several years to make its mark in the retail world, AR tech is poised for continued significant growth. Retailers can utilize AR tech to create a more personalized and engaging experience for in-store shoppers. Beyond the consumer functionality of AR, this technology also has a place to help retailers improve sales, margin, free up labor and create seamless and consistent shopping experiences.

What’s more, an AR location services platform allows retailers to create searchable store maps, giving consumers a better navigation strategy in stores.

At NRF 2019, we demonstrated our AR mobile app. Together with our world-leading, fully graphic three color ESLs, it delivers a new level of in-store customer engagement that helps boost sales, protect margins and improve associate utilization. The app allows consumers to search for a product by general term, specific brand name, product or unique product code using their mobile phone and the retailer’s app. Once a shopper finds the desired product on the app, they can tap on the item to begin navigation via a top-down view of the store, and a virtual navigation arrow shows the user’s precise location and orientation to the product’s shelf location. AR Navigation begins, and the shopper is directed to all the items in their shopping list by simply following the navigation to that item.

When a shopper arrives at the shelf edge, Displaydata’s ESLs, together with the mobile app, are key customer and associate interaction tools that deliver near real-time product info, stock levels, reviews, competitors’ prices and more with speed, agility and consistency. This information is strategically placed, based on their shopping habits or preferences, and provides special offers or information unique to the shopper, enabling them to view highlights of the product’s shelf location with AR callouts.

This interaction is possible through the centralized software that is deployed within the solution. Although this use of AR is in the early stages, Bluetooth-enabled ESLs for location-based marketing to individual shoppers is already fully implementable. AR, combined with must-have ESL solutions, is a unique and effective way of creating the tailored interactions and digital relationships that shoppers expect. The emerging technology also reflects the hyper connected, IoT world we now live in. The question is: which savvy retailers will be ready to start courting them?

About Displaydata

Our Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) bring the shelf-edge into the Internet of Things era, helping to create shopping experiences that are more engaging, rewarding and personalised – and profitable. We help retailers optimise sales and margin at the shelf-edge, where 90% of purchases are still made.

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