Businesses and brands that make the best use of new technology such as augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are more likely to build a loyal customer base.

That was among the key findings of a new retail report by Manchester-based mixed reality business DigitalBridge.

AR is now leading the way as the technology people most want to engage with, with 50 per cent of UK consumers saying they're more likely to be loyal to a brand that offered them access to this type of visualisation experience either in store or online.

The research found that AR is proving particularly popular among young people with 69 per cent of 18-24 year olds saying they would be more loyal to a business offering this technology. The same age group is also more likely to shop with a brand that offered artificial intelligence like chatbots.

“Technology has completely changed how people shop and engage with businesses and brands but now the pressure is on to improve every point of the consumer experience,” said DigitalBridge chief executive David Levine.

“Since the new iPhones launched we have seen an explosion of augmented reality tools and consumers clearly see this technology as the thing that will move the retail sector into the future."

davidlevine

According to the report, this is not limited to particular age brackers, with 59 per cent of 25-34 year olds, 48 per cent of 35-44 year olds and 46 per cent of 45-54 year olds also saying that new technology plays a key role in converting them into loyal customers.

Being able to preview products in the real world to see what they’d look like and being able to “try on” multiple options before spending money are the main reasons consumers see the future of retail in augmented reality, although virtual reality and artificial intelligence tools like chat bots continue to feed the imagination.

“Being able to preview products virtually at home before spending money is something retailers have never been able to let their customers do, but AR makes this a possibility and is something that will become more the norm as the technology continues to improve," Levine added.

Launched by Levine in 2013, DigitalBridge uses AR, computer vision and machine learning to allow customers to "try on" home decor products in their own homes.

The company was this summer named as one of the UK's brightest young tech firms in the most recent Technation report.