As retailers across the nation reopen their doors, Aussie shoppers are returning to a drastically different era of retail.

Waiting lines, hand sanitiser stations and temperature checks have many shoppers questioning why they ever braved crowded car parks and noisy food courts to begin with.

To top that off, several of Australia’s largest retailers including Rivers, Kathmandu and Noni-B have barred the use of changerooms, with the expectation that the rigid hygiene measures will remain policy for months to come.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for retailers to uphold the elevated in-person experience that gets shoppers through their doors.

Difficult, but not impossible according to Chandan Panda, Founder and Director of AI-powered Virtual TryOn provider ShopExp.

Flung from the safety of business as usual, many retailers are racking their brains as to how they can preserve the magic of the in-store experience.

How can we minimise customer touchpoints? Free-up floor space? Bring the convenience of online shopping in-store?

Powered by Augmented Reality, ShopExp’s patented Smart Mirror will help businesses take the shake-up in their stride and emerge more resilient post-pandemic.

The Smart Mirror allows shoppers to TryOn photorealistic clothing, accessories, makeup and footwear with a few taps of the intelligent screen. Essentially a fitting room without the clanging coat hangers and crinkled clothing.

This smarter way of shopping allows storeowners to showcase new collections or out of stock product, without the wait time. More importantly it significantly reduces a customer’s time in-store, contact with surfaces and the retailer’s reliance on costly floorspace.

And it’s not only store experience that is well due for a digital transformation. There is also a growing push to bring the benefits of in-store, online.

Australia Post says there was an 80 per cent increase in online shopping over the eight weeks to May 15, compared to last year.

As the number of people shopping online skyrockets, so does consumer expectations. The costliest of which is free returns.

The Australian Circular Fashion Association estimates that 30 per cent of all online clothing orders in Australia are returned – a figure that burns holes in the pockets of many Aussie Retailers.

For this reason, ShopExp has fast-tracked its online virtual TryOn offering. Using a WebCam or SmartPhone camera the technology allows customers to TryOn eyewear, cosmetics, jewellery and hats from the comfort of their couch.

A much-needed boost to buyer confidence and a step up for retailers vying to ‘out-experience’ their competitors.

Without a doubt, there’s still a way to go before our Aussie retailers will be ready to take the training wheels off and fully embrace new, innovative ways of shopping. However, there are glimpses of a new era of retail and you can be sure AI-powered technology, such as that offered by ShopExp, will be at the forefront!