The Ultimate Guide to Augmented Reality (AR) in E-Commerce
Although it is a convenient shopping option, some people have fears about engaging in online shopping, but, luckily – the use of augmented reality in e-commerce represents the ultimate solution.
According to most recent statistics, only 69% of Americans are engaged in e-commerce transactions, despite being extremely convenient. So, why do almost 30% of Americans fear shopping online?
One of the biggest fears is potential dissatisfaction with the product. Shoppers worry that despite a good impression of the product, it might not fit or be true to its description upon delivery.
Traditional shopping allows trying on products, sometimes allowing buyers to give it a try at home with the option return or exchange it. Augmented Reality in e-commerce solves this issue for online shopping.
There are several applications utilising AR in e-commerce, we discuss them in detail below.
How Are E-Commerce Businesses Using Augmented Reality Tools to Boost the Online Shopping Experience?
Augmented reality is a technology that allows a digital or computer-generated object to exist overlaying the physical world. Using special tools, the user can manipulate this object, change its position, size, or even color, and see how it will look in each possible configuration.
When a company invests in tools for augmented reality, it offers its customers the chance to see the product and experiment with a life-size 3D model. You can actually try on, manipulate, view, or interact with a virtual 3D using a phone’s camera and see how this product will look when they actually wear or use it.
There are currently several examples of AR integration to e-commerce to offer users a unique shopping experience, and in this section, we’ll explain how multiple companies are using this technology to boost online sales.
Virtual Try-on AR Solutions
A lot of fashion industry brands are currently using AR to facilitate online shopping by offering shoppers a chance to see what they’re actually paying for.
Brands like Gap, Warby Parker, and Michael Kors are among the many offering AR tools. For example, Gap allows the user to insert their measurements into the brand’s online app, and then it creates a virtual avatar that they can use to try on different garments.
Michael Kors uses this feature on its social media platforms, where buyers can check the company’s Facebook ads and press the try-on button to see how a piece of accessory such as watches or sunglasses will look. Warby Parker also has a unique AR application, where potential buyers can try different shapes and models of their sunglasses and eyeglasses. In the beauty industry, the MAC Cosmetics website lets users try on different shades of lipstick and eyeshadow with either a smartphone or desktop computer.
Product placement Using AR
In several industries, including furniture and automotive, previewing how the product will look in the customers’ environment has the potential to convince customers to purchase online, on the spot. This is why brands like IKEA, DTC furniture, and Lowe’s are currently using this technology to enhance shoppers’ experiences.
IKEA has a special AR app that allows users to place different pieces of furniture in their rooms and change their colors to see how the room will look with different configurations. The application scans the room and allows users to create a customized room based on their selection – the app can scale products up to 98% accuracy. Users can also save their favorite products and share their choices on social media platforms.
Lowe’s offers a different AR hopping experience: users can use their phone as an AR tool. Customers can measure the dimensions of their rooms, their tiles, wall height, and available space to choose pieces of furniture that fit their space better.
When the consumer is shopping for a product that has a learning curve to it, an interactive user manual using augmented reality would be a great selling point. Such manuals offer more than just text to teach the customer how to use a given product. Hyundai and Toyota are already using this technology to enhance the user’s experience before and after the purchase of a vehicle.
Hyundai currently offers an interactive user manual to let customers learn more about a car’s potential. After buying, the customer can refer to the interactive manual to examine different parts, see how they work, and respond to an issue before contacting the customer service department. One of the perks of using this app is that it overlays explanatory text over the physical world car parts. It also offers several how-to videos to explain to the user how to maintain the car and use its various features without exiting the manual.
Toyota also offers an interactive user manual that showcases a 3D model representation of it, on the company’s website. The customer can navigate this manual through a typed or voiced search, in addition to a virtual assistant.
Apart from the retail market, interactive user guides are currently used in the B2B market. A company can use AR-enhanced presentation guides to help its prospective partners understand how a particular product or solution works. From installation guides to whole tutorials, such an interactive guide can help the company secure a deal faster.
AR-Enhanced Social Media Filters
AR filters on social media allow users to change their background or add different 3D objects or 2D imagery to the pictures they take. Aside from personal use, many brands are currently using this technology to enhance their online sales.
These filters allow brands to engage with customers on a deeper level, help introduce new products, and let users see how these products will look. This also encourages the user to follow the brand’s social media account or visit its online shop.
AR filters create a highly immersive experience. Images and videos using them could be permanently saved on the customer’s social media account or device and can be shared with other users on other platforms, increasing the amount of contact one has with the brand’s campaign.
Gucci launched an AR filter on Instagram for users to experience its latest sneakers. Users could add the sneakers’ 3D model to their existing images. Customers who are unable to buy the company’s expensive sneakers can still have a photo of themselves in these sneakers for free.
Gamification is one of the most immersive and interactive AR solutions. Using augmented reality, a brand can create a fun and engaging game that can help a potential customer better understand a company’s profile and products.
This involves introducing games into a non-gaming context – social media, shopping platforms, etc. Since humans are naturally competitive, customers could be tempted to engage with a minigame. Such games can suggest company products and help learn more about them, being encouraged to visit the company’s website. These games provide users with reward points or account credits to enhance their shopping experience. For example, by winning a game, the user might be able to get a discount or get free shipping.
Victoria’s Secret and its Pink line currently have an online AR app, where users can engage in several gaming challenges. Via games and unlocking badges, players are able to learn more about the company’s products and even win tickets to Victoria’s Secret fashion shows. The company is able to collect more data about its audience to design and offer what they’re looking for.
Pull & Bear also launched an AR game that users can play on Instagram and Facebook. The users are taken on a tour between California and Tokyo, where they need to dodge flying objects. This game is part of the company’s Pacific Girl collection and was used to encourage potential customers to browse its website.
Benefits of AR for E-Commerce Business
According to market research in 2019, 66% of shoppers said that they’d be interested in an augmented reality shopping experience and that they are encouraged to make a purchase if they can visualize a product before paying for it.
AR for Enhanced Brand Awareness
AR applications and filters add to the potency of social media marketing. With more than 93% of marketing specialists relying on social media marketing, AR can provide an enhancing tool to boost marketing efforts and increase brand awareness.
Brands offer online applications where users can save their favorite products and share them with others, which helps introduce more customers to the business.
Augmented Reality Reduces Returns
Users are likely to return a product they are not satisfied with after buying it from an online store if it does not match the anticipated company’s website. They can make as many adjustments as they want to, try different colors, and see how the product they buy would look before it arrives, minimising the chance of disappointment.
AR Solutions Increase Conversions
According to statistics, AR applications can increase conversions by more than 250%. Consumers feel more engaged and connected with 3D images than 2D images by at least 40%, making it likely to spend more time on your website when you offer an augmented reality experience.
With concepts like virtual try-on or placement, potential buyers are more likely to make an online purchase because they know exactly what something will look like.
Interactively Upsell Your Products Using AR
AR applications encourage prospective clients to make more purchases through product suggestions and AR filters, eventually increasing a company’s sales. Augmented reality solutions such as 3D placement preview applications show how a piece of furniture will look in a specific room or environment. Interactive user manuals can also show potential buyers extra features and add-ons they can buy to enhance a current product they plan to buy or have previously purchased.
AR Boosts Effective Merchandising
Effective merchandising refers to the process of displaying various products to highlight their features, increasing sales. Augmented reality is an excellent tool to boost effective merchandising efforts by introducing a 3D model of the product in action.
Virtual try-ons, placement previews, and interactive user manuals can all be used to enhance effective merchandising efforts. Instead of simply reading about the product, a potential customer can actually give it a try. They can also use a 3D model to see its features in action.
Data Analytics Using AR
By using AR for e-commerce solutions, companies can learn a lot about its clients as well as the performance of its products. They can assess the success of a marketing campaign and whether it had led to an increase in sales using efficient data analytics. Companies can also analyze users’ profiles and choices to evaluate how specific products are performing and which new products are creating the needed buzz.
The Impact of Covid-19 on AR in E-Commerce
With the widespread lockdowns at the beginning of 2020, e-commerce became the only way many companies could stay in business. People were asked to stay home, and shops and malls were closed by law.
As a result, the competition started to increase in the e-commerce market, as each business wanted to prove that they could offer a flawless online shopping experience, especially to those who were skeptical about paying for something they hadn’t seen or touched in real life before.
Luckily, the increase in the augmented reality services for e-commerce presented a way out that helped several companies stay in business. With a combination of different AR tools, companies were able to provide an engaging, immersive, and trustworthy shopping experience that encouraged lots of people to buy online for the very first time.
Virtual try-on applications using the user’s camera, laptop, or an application installed on the smartphone allowed millions of users to shop for clothes, makeup, and furniture. Those who were skeptical about how a sofa will look in their living room or how a car would look in their driveway were able to completely visualize it using AR applications. AR solutions also offered different product combinations that would encourage users to make more purchases.
Potential customers were able to test and try on their products without being afraid of contagious diseases. AR applications made shopping safer because people could practice it from the comfort of their homes and still get to have their hands on the products and services that they want.
Online shoppers sometimes face some difficulties because people can’t visualize how something will look and feel unless they actually try it. But, using augmented reality in e-commerce successfully overcomes this problem by enhancing the online shopping experience and allowing users to experience a 3D model of whatever they purchase in their physical environment.
The market of AR applications is widely expanding, and those who aren’t keeping up will eventually be unable to compete in their respective markets.
Here, at WE/AR, we are a team of dedicated experts – ready to provide you with the most suitable augmented reality solution. We will study your company’s profile and industry to suggest the right AR tool to enhance your online sales and improve your customers’ experience.
Send us an email at email@example.com and we can schedule a business consultation. Regardless of the size of your company, we can have a customized solution that works for you.