Augmented Reality is a vital part of the technological revolution that is changing the way we interact with the world. Especially in online retail, augmented reality is synergizing with innovation in bringing a physical presence to e-commerce.
Retailers are primarily focused on creating a more engaging experience, in e-commerce online shopping. Augmented Reality is allowing retailers to offer a more personal, interactive and engaging buying experience that guarantees to change the way you will shop forever.
How does Augmented Reality do that ?
Imagine the last time you were looking online for a sofa chair and you wanted to see what shape of the sofa would look best in your living room, what color would best go with the curtains? You would have to imagine it all in your head, trying to visualize different color schemes, textures and settings.
If only you could try the product at home, before you bought it online.
That is what Augmented reality brings to e-commerce.
Before we start on the influence and uses of Augmented Reality in e-commerce, lets first find out about the e-commerce shopping experience.
Anything you buy or sell online falls under the e-commerce umbrella. Presently there are 110,000 e-commerce websites operating on the internet. Leading stores include Amazon, Alibaba, Flipkart, Shopify and many more.
e-Commerce is a massively growing field and with everything becoming digital, e-Commerce will surely make buying and selling more satisfying and convenient for an average person and with the introduction of AR, it is going to be even more compelling.
“Statista anticipated a 246.15% growth in global e-Commerce sales, rising from $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $4.5 trillion in 2021. That amounts to an almost threefold growth in online revenue.”
Most of the major players in the e-Commerce sector are acquiring and implementing Augmented reality as part of their services, like Alibaba. They recently announced they would be working on providing Virtual and Augmented Reality services as part of their e-commerce customer experience.
Large retailers and customers now prefer an AR e-Commerce experience over an e-Commerce experience without augmented reality.
But Why Is Augmented Reality Changing e-Commerce
Augmented reality addresses the one problem no e-Commerce shopping experience can – it brings the product right in front of the consumers. No matter how flawless of an experience any e-Commerce store provides, the consumers don’t actually get to see the product.
Most of the times, people receive a product that felt different when they were shopping then when they actually receive it. AR technologies let the consumer feel and evaluate the product personally.
Lets look at what the trends in e-Commerce suggest.
Augmented Reality e-Commerce Examples
I am going to talk about some of the most amazing ways Augmented Reality is changing the way we shop.
IKEA is known for their great sense of intuition in leveraging technology and e-Commerce for their customer experience. In 2013, IKEA created an AR app, IKEA Place to help customers physically visualize how a certain piece of furniture would look in their home.
All a customer would need is a smartphone or a tablet to use the app. It uses the camera to understand the room or the environment and by selecting different items from the IKEA catalog, the customer can see how a certain piece of furniture would look in their home before they purchase it.
When you shop online for furniture, the major concern, after all the colors and styles go away, is
Will this fit in my home?
IKEA’s use of AR in e-Commerce answers this very question by allowing people to virtually visualize any piece of furniture in their own homes and test how it fits and looks.
Kabaq is a food commerce app that uses Augmented Reality to increase their customer engagement. Customers get to view all the dishes on a menu through smart devices and order them online. This provides an excellent opportunity for the users to see the actual serving size, what the main dishes really look like, the side dishes and dessert combinations.
The Patrón Experience
Patron Experience takes you in a new world you get to walk through the history and heritage of the Patron brand and shop online for drinks. Aside from a tour of a virtual hacienda, in which you can interact with the bartenders and get information on various available drink, you also get to order any drink from their online platform.
A very clever use of AR to increase their product value and ROI. By providing a complete history of their store and products, they are giving control to their consumer to help them make a more informed decision.
Chairish is a home decor app that leverages AR to buy and sell vintage furniture, art and much more. You can get the perfect home decor look by trying how your favorite piece of furniture or a lamp would look. Simply take a picture of the space you want to add the product to, select the item and view it in your space to make your purchase.
Augment is a platform that provides Augmented Reality solutions to retailers and other businesses. Their Augment SDK is a software development kit that provides retailers the ability to personalize their customer’s shopping experience by introducing AR product visualization into their existing e-Commerce platforms with the help of an AR viewer that displays any product as a realistic digital object in the customer’s environment.
Modiface creates Augmented reality tech for beauty brands, specifically. It is a uniquely customized experience consisting of various beauty AR modules for web e-Commerce.
To date, Top beauty brands like Loreal, Estee Lauder and Bobbi Brown are using Modiface to enhance their e-Commerce experience.
AR e-Commerce, How the Technology benefits People’s Lives
AR is becoming more and more of an important e-Commerce component. With the speed of technological innovations, your average consumer is getting increasingly tech savvy. People shopping online tend to make their purchasing decision mostly from a Personal Computer or on a mobile device. Augmented reality sets in like the missing piece of a puzzle for retailers aiming to create more meaningful, memorable shopping experiences for customers.
AR creates a sense of presence for objects that aren’t really there. As a result, products combined with Augmented Reality can influence the potential customers a lot more than pictures or videos.
As compared to a normal e-Commerce experience, AR integrated e-commerce experience offers enhanced customer engagement and the ability to modify and customize your selection.
For an online shop, it’s especially difficult to keep the shoppers engaged. AR increases engagement and decreases the number of unsatisfied customers.
“40% customers are willing to pay more for a product if they can experience it through Augmented Reality.”
Augmented reality and computer graphics make it easy for consumers to explore their options and make personalized modifications while online shopping.
AR apps have limitless marketing potential for retailers belonging to any industry. In order to stay ahead of the competition, you must consider introducing and integrating AR into your online business.
Future of Online Shopping
The future of the online shopping will pivot on augmented reality. AR is already adding value in getting shoppers to stay engaged on retailer’s mobile platforms as well as driving in-store traffic. Key players in the industry will indeed have a huge stake in the future of Augmented commerce because as e-Commerce evolves, so will your consumer’s expectations.
Fancying up product descriptions and just creating 360 photos will no longer suffice. Mobile shoppers will want and expect the ability to test products at home before buying through augmented reality and the only way to stay ahead is providing Augmented Commerce.