AR is an abbreviated term for Augmented Reality, which means, augmentation of real-life environment or object using computer-generated content, with the same precision as of a real object. AR doesn’t replace the reality, it only adds elements to it.
AR and VR is being talked about since 2016, thanks to big giants like Sony and facebook for releasing VR devices into the market. However, the use of AR in e-commerce started being noticed with Ikea’s application which lets users try the furniture on, without actually having to place them physically. AR can be used in e-commerce in many ways, the most popular ways are the following:
For any eCommerce website or app user experience is the most crucial part of a successful business and marketing. User experience is a way of enabling the customer to interact with the product effectively. Using AR can enhance the user experience dramatically. 3-d models of objects overlayed in the real environment can give the user an optimized experience.
The customers always prefer being treated specially and customization of services according to their needs. Using AR this can be made possible through mobile applications or other AR devices. For example, a company that sells cosmetic products can use AR to match the tone of foundation with the complexion of the person who wants to buy it or use AR to make a prediction about how a specific color of lipstick will suit the complexion of the buyer.
The most missed or you can say arguably disadvantage of eCommerce is, that the shoppers don’t get to ‘feel it’. AR solutions for E-commerce such as virtual try-on can give the shopper a feeling of being at the store and buying from experience. It also increases the amount of interaction of the buyer with the products. The longer the interaction, the more likely the sale.
8 out of 10 shoppers don’t but what they have added to the cart. The major reason for that is mostly they couldn’t make an effective decision or had some kind of confusion about the product or its real value. AR can help make the customers make effective and quick decisions about a purchase. For example, a customer wants to buy a pair of footwear for a specific occasion, to match with a specific dress. But the difficulty to visualize that footwear with the dress creates confusion. This confusion can be solved by using AR and showing the customer exactly how it will look with the dress.
AR helps buyers to make quicker decisions about a purchase while shopping online. This decreases the bounce rate and eventually increasing sales. It also reduces cart abandonment. Using AR also increases the trust level in buyers’ minds as they can realize the outcome of the use of the product from the comfort of their homes. By introducing AR to the eCommerce solutions, big brands can retain their customers and small businesses can leverage more market acquisition.
AR is still a new trend and going to excite customers for the coming years. E-commerce stores that use AR in with their online stores tend to have more user interaction than the ones without AR. This increased interaction eventually increases brand value. Ven though visitor doesn’t buy the product, for sure talks about the amazing experience with the newfound technology. More visitors will help the store to scale up on search engine algorithms.
The return process for online stores is complicated and users tend to be very suspicious about return policies. While online store owners also face fake returns and thus both parties face loss. Using AR genuine buyers are able to realize the product before even have to buy it. This eliminates doubts and they can make more accurate decisions about their purchase. Which decreases the chances of returning the product. This saves time and resources and strengthens brand values.
AR is an amazing technology, almost completely transforming the online shopping experience of the shoppers. Being able to realize the product before having to buy it and that from the comfort of the couch has a psychological effect on the customer. This experience kind of keeps the buyer coming back to your store, because it is very satisfying for them.
Currently, only major players are leveraging the benefits of these technologies and that too for a limited range of products. Introducing AR into your E-commerce store in these times can be very beneficial because it will keep you ahead of most of your competitors. Besides, the sooner you get ahead of the competition the more beneficial it is for your business. The popular E-commerce development platform Shopify has already released the features to help its merchants leverage this trendy and exciting technology for their online stores. The 3D warehouse app from Shopify, let’s the buyer create a 3D model for their products, to enable AR quick look.
When AR was introduced in the retail industry, it started showing effects on marketing approaches for brands. The marketing is now focused on how one is better than others in terms of providing an extraordinary experience to the buyers. For more coming years, these marketing approaches are going to take over the previous marketing approaches. The focus will be shifted to provide users an extensive experience while shopping using AR.
There are still stereotypical people who don’t see the real value of AR in eCommerce and think it is overrated. This mindset is going to change in the coming years and the use of AR in e-commerce is going to be widely accepted in the retail industry. This acceptance will come from the fact that user experience plays a huge role in the success of any eCommerce venture and it can’t be overlooked. The big players are already creating a demand for AR experience among buyers who shop online.
AR is still in the development phase, the full potential of this technology is not fully discovered. There are going to be future advancements in this field of technology and that will impact the way online shopping is functioning right now. AR and VR are the future of business and will play a huge role in establishing brands in the market. Not only the online stores but marketing agencies will be able to use this wonderful technology to enable their clients to acquire more market.
The bottom line is, the introduction of futuristic technologies like VR and AR can be used to increase the business potential of online ventures. The way of doing business is changing. It is becoming more customer-centric and technologies like AR most welcomed in the market by both users and vendors. AR in e-commerce has proven to increase conversion rates for vendors and increase satisfaction users. The time isn’t far when AR will be a necessity to do online business.