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Innovative retailers and brands are always looking for new ways to engage customers, increase sales, decrease returns and enhance retail loyalty programs. We’ve worked on many Augmented Reality solutions for forward-looking retailers, ranging from integrated in-app experiences to stand-alone Augmented Reality catalog shopping apps. From the ground floor, here are five Augmented Reality retail trends for 2014.

1) Virtual trial and product education

From watches and jewelry to furniture and cosmetics, virtual trial will transform in-store, online and print catalog shopping behavior. The technology has matured and is now truly useful in understanding whether a color or style is a good fit for an individual or environment. There are some well-known “trial-at-home” furniture experiences like that offered by the AR Ikea Catalog and a few start-ups. Then there’s virtual makeup. Don’t believe it? Check out this demo from CES 2014 AR darling, ModiFace.

2) Gamification of the in-store experience

Think about it as ShopKick supercharged. Instead of interacting with in-store beacons, shoppers will shop and play at stores and with branded products for points, incentives and just to entertain themselves.  Speedway, a midwestern convenience store chain, used the Cool Stacks in-app AR game to engage loyalty program participants with a specific branded product – a cold beverage cup. Think it sounds like a fad? According to Gartner, growth is predicted to increase in the gamification market from a $421.3 million in 2013 to $5.5 billion in 2018. Retailers are expected to fuel that growth.