Thanks to brands like Macy's and Sephora, shoppers can use augmented reality to find out exactly what they're buying, even before they purchase a product

Everyone knows the annoyance of finding out that a new purchase wasn't exactly what they imagined, from something as small as a tube of lipstick to a commitment as large as a new sofa. It can be nearly impossible to imagine what a product will look like without trying it out first. But thanks to huge leaps in technology, innovative brands are beginning to integrate mixed reality tools like AR into their interfaces, both in-store and online. From displaying nutrition information to displaying shades of makeup, retailers can now completely change the way they interact with customers. PSFK researchers identified the following four brands as leaders in the use of AR technology:

Macy's
Department store giant Macy's is testing an app that allows shoppers to test out the store's furniture in their own homes through AR. They can use their phones to approximate how their favorite products will look in their spaces. The company also partnered with Marxent, a company that specializes in large-scale virtual reality, to create a VR experience in around 100 stores where users create their own ideal living spaces.

Sephora

Beauty retailer Sephora is leveraging AI and AR to engage customers by highlighting the latest trends in concept stores. Their tech options allow customers to personalize each shopping experience by trying on makeup virtually using AR, matching their skin tone to a foundation with AI, and sampling any fragrance via a touchscreen connected to a device that sprays scented air.

NARS

Cosmetics brand NARS is integrating AR experiences into its beauty counter experience, helping customers try on products quickly and easily. Through a new partnership with beauty AR company Perfect Corp., NARS created a system that lets customers trial 700 different products in order to find the best matches for them. The experience is meant to be used in conjunction with employees, so it's not available on the company's app.

NARS

KIND

Snack bar brand KIND created an AR pop-up called Sweeteners Uncovered to reveal the sugar content of many popular processed foods. The two-day, New York City popup encouraged consumers to look at the sugar content KIND's bards with a QR code, then compare them to competitors. The AR pop-up also explained the many different sugars that might be hiding in the ingredients label, combining education with technology.

Lead image: stock image from Archi_Viz/Shutterstock

Everyone knows the annoyance of finding out that a new purchase wasn't exactly what they imagined, from something as small as a tube of lipstick to a commitment as large as a new sofa. It can be nearly impossible to imagine what a product will look like without trying it out first. But thanks to huge leaps in technology, innovative brands are beginning to integrate mixed reality tools like AR into their interfaces, both in-store and online. From displaying nutrition information to displaying shades of makeup, retailers can now completely change the way they interact with customers. PSFK researchers identified the following four brands as leaders in the use of AR technology: