Will you buy a car without a real test drive?
Will you take your potential investor to the unknown Asian restaurant in the middle of nowhere? Will you move together without even fighting once?
I doubt it. It’s a basic self-love instinct, basic desire to learn about the practical side of things, it’s something that helps us to avoid the bitter pain of disappointment in the future.
According to Statista, 1.6 bn people made online purchases in 2017. In my humble opinion, with a try before you buy option for all goods this numbers could double easily. We all need to try before buying, we need to know if a product or a service resonates with us or no, we need to bite the forbidden fruit of knowledge. Virtual and augmented reality solutions give clients this incredible opportunity. And businesses either go AR/VR or pretend that the problems of returns, painful refunds, disappointed clients, and bad reviews on TripAdvisor and Amazon are just given and there is not much you can do about them.
So will you buy a sofa without seeing it? You won’t if you consider the following statistics: customers return 30% of products they order online.
However, when it comes to brick- and- mortar stores, this percent is just 10%. No need to be a psychic to guess that the try before you buy option makes the difference. Customers adore seeing, touching, trying things before they spend their precious money on them.
Online stores have found hundreds of methods to deal with this pain point, but virtual and augmented reality solutions will eventually substitute all other options. Because it’s 100% visual, comfortable, and up-to-date. And it gives customers more than they even expect. That’s why retailers use AR to provide customers with the try before you buy option in cosmetics, clothes, electronics and furniture. They choose VR to give customers a chance to try before booking or flying.
I want to tell you more how easy it is to implement in life a try before you buy options for different products and services with effective virtual and augmented reality solutions.
AUGMENTED REALITY FOR MAKE-UP TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
There are no returns in cosmetics. When a woman buys a new lipstick, and the lipstick doesn’t match, it means that a retailer loses a potential loyal client. Forever and ever. That’s why top brands decided to use AR applications to visualize future makeup.
NYX, L’Oreal, Estee Lauder are among those brands that decided to mix the technology and a perfect makeup.
AR application for makeup is basically a makeup artist for every woman who needs it, and the ultimate level of personalization!
AR application for a beauty brand is created with the help of face recognition technology based on machine learning and neural networks. This technology “identifies” a human face using a 3D model and compares it to the face from the database. It allows overlaying a highly precise 3D model above human face to show how a lipstick will look on it!
TRYING CLOTHES IN AUGMENTED REALITY BEFORE BUYING
40% of clothes bought online are returned because of the wrong size/wrong pattern/wrong perception.
Brick-and-mortar stores have one magic solution for such things: it’s called a fitting room. But what if I told you that it will soon be possible to try on clothes virtually.
GAP, a popular clothes brand presented a dressing room in augmented reality. They’ve launched the application which allows clients trying clothes digitally envisioning the shopping of the future. Such AR innovation makes the shopping process easier and more interactive for the audience. The application helps to pick up clothes according to the body shape and size.
AR is not the only option in achieving this elusive try before you buy option. Some stores, such as Zara, complement in-store experience with the help of augmented reality. Visitors can see models wearing Zara’s clothes behind the shop windows. A fashion shows right in from of your eyes!
Yet I want to be honest with you, so far augmented reality works best for accessories than for clothes because virtual clothes fit a perfect body instead of real person’s body. Yet even with this solution, the customer will get a general perception of the future look.
AUGMENTED REALITY FOR ELECTRONICS
Buying electronics is risky and time-consuming for the majority of people especially if they decide to do it online. No headache with huge malls but the huge risk of “missing” with the size or design of home appliance.
But the temptation and the comfort of buying online is still huuuuge. Ukrainian electronics retailer decided to solve this problem once and for all: launching an augmented reality application that gives a customer the chance to preview any piece of electronics inside their own environment.
You literally see how a washing machine of your choice fits into your bathroom because there is an augmented reality ruler included in the application.
Shopify and Amazon have already implemented augmented reality solutions to both level up sales and improve customers’ convenience. Now all the customers of these giants can preview goods before they buy them.
Try before you buy for fridges and washing machines? Or even bikes. Why not?
AUGMENTED REALITY FOR ACCESSORIES
It’s impossible to try on as many pieces of jewelry as possible because, let’s face the truth, it’s exhausting. Yet with augmented reality solution for jewelry this problem is solved once and for all.
Jewelry companies benefit from offering their clients earrings or rings in augmented reality before buying. Yet with the catalog in augmented reality, customers can have an unlimited access to all the jewelry assortment and try on as many pieces as they want.
Besides, such approach resonates with millennials who avoid annoying consultants at any cost. For instance, this company has installed augmented reality screens to let its clients try on jewelry in shopping malls.
AUGMENTED REALITY FOR FURNITURE
Buying furniture can be a chore especially for online shoppers. They are challenged to test their imagination before they agree to click “buy” seeing the sofa of their dreams. It’s not an easy decision, after all, the sofa of their dreams is supposed to stay with them for years! All I am saying is that it’s a serious decision, and the companies that know how to make it easier can win customers’ hearts.
That’s why IKEA launched an augmented reality application for furniture: it lets customers try on all the furniture from their catalogs before ordering it. The effect was amazing: people were not only buying more, but they were also playing with the app placing sofas on the streets and taking photos with them which increased brand exposure.
Today most furniture brands want an augmented reality app like IKEA. But why limit oneself with ready-made solutions when it’s possible to make AR brighter, more impressive, and engaging for clients just adding some animations for instance? Or cute characters in AR?
The era of try before you buy has come, Shopify and Amazon which are going augmented mark the beginning of that era.
Shopify decided to give all their 600K merchants the chance to preview all the goods they are about to buy in AR. It means any product bought from Shopify can be placed inside your apartment. A perfect vase for your kitchen or a state-of-art shelves for your bedroom. Try it before buying.
TRY BEFORE YOU BOOK A HOTEL
When you buy a trip to an exotic country for yourself, you take the risks. If you book a trip to a foreign country with the whole family, you risk to spoil the vacation for more than one person. That’s why many hotels today offer a try before you book option to their dear clients.
Try before you spend money and book this weird and magnetic place on Bali! With the help of virtual reality tours, clients can explore unknown places and find out what they will feel about the place where they will be staying.
For hotel owners virtual reality tours will cost nothing compared to the comfort they will provide to their clients.And compared to the emotional feedback it will have. Previewing your future hotel reduces anxiety, and makes negative experience almost impossible.
TRY BEFORE YOU FLY
It’s another hot option for tour operators that can not only improve customers’ experience but can level up sales as well!
Thomas Cook, a British tour operator decided to give their customers a chance to see the place they are about to visit.
The results exceeded the expectations: the company managed to sell 190% more tours to New York.
The customer is not a moron, the customer is your wife. That’s what one of the most successful marketers of the 2Oth century, David Ogilvy, said to his employees regularly. Think about it.
A customer is your wife.
It means that whenever you disappoint or hurt your customer, it affects you as well. Today a customer knows more, has much more options, and demands more truth and transparency. The customer chooses to buy online because he is sure that they will receive what he wants. But a try before you buy option gives your client confidence in your brand. And what is more precious than this?