3D technologies and augmented reality (AR) are altering customers' shopping experience, both online and in-store.

FREMONT, CA: It was predicted in late November 2019 that sizing would be replaced by custom-fit apparel, enabled by body scanning and made-to-order finishing. This potential change can have a deep impact on the manufacturing and supply chain, and identical modifications have been observed throughout many industries. In terms of retail, it could substantially transition what will be needed to merchandize products. In a constantly evolving world, augmented shopping has a critical role to play.

The customers and retailers can imagine a future where the customer no longer has to shop by perusing a catalog of products. Still, instead, they can select a product type, be it a car, pair of pants, or a dining room table, and then wipe and dial their way to get the perfect dimensions, style, and color of whatever they are looking for. Later they could try it on or interact with it in any environment they want, all of this from the comfort of their homes. Augmented reality and 3D technology are transforming this vision into reality.

It can be deemed to be a revolution unfolding like a slow but powerful shift in tectonic plates. Today higher than a billion smartphones and tablet devices have the potential to deliver augmented experiences. By next year, 100 million customers are expected to shop through AR, either online or in-store. The appetite of the consumer is increasing since 2018; the number of mobile AR users has doubled with the usage and popularity being largely driven via social media. This year, 46 percent of retailers plan to deploy AR or VR to provide enhanced shopping experiences.

Although the trends are transparent, still this vision is in the early days of this revolution. Extracting value-form augmented shopping these days is primarily based on how well the technology can represent the essential product features for the concerned customers. Many tripping points are expected to be observed as augmented shopping becomes the standard shopping experience.

With numerous retail companies experiencing more pressure than ever to demonstrate profitable growth, it can be challenging to make deep investments in what feels like a long game of emerging technology.

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