In our technologically driven world, eCommerce retailers are constantly looking for new ways to inspire, excite, and engage with their customers. Mobile usage has rocketed and is quickly changing the eCommerce landscape, aligning with consumers’ behaviour and habits – and Augmented Reality (AR) is a part of this shift. Around 40% of consumers would be willing to spend more money on a product if they were offered an augmented reality experience prior to committing a purchase.
Augmented reality (AR) is an intuitive and interactive method of shopping. Using mobile technology, content is layered over images of the real world (Avex Designs), similar to the way CGI is used in TV and film.
“Try before you buy”
When the government introduced lock-down guidelines preventing customers from having access to high street outlets, purchasing items, such as furniture, electronics, and household items, that shoppers would normally browse in person, was almost impossible. However, with the option of AR, creating visual and personalised features for the buyer, they are able to feel more comfortable and informed when they come to purchase products.
By using AR, brands are able to transform your customers’ online experience and give consumers the ultimate “try before you buy” opportunity. This not only puts merchants at an advantage but also increases authenticity and reliability. As we know, it’s all about supercharging customer experiences – happy customers embrace brand loyalty and generate repeat business.
Key merchant benefits:
Some key merchant benefits include
- Reduce the volume of returns
- Competitive advantage
- Engaging product offerings
- Instant gratification
- Boost engagement and sales
- Leverage increase in mobile commerce
Key customer benefits:
Some Benefits of AR for customers include:
- Product modifications and previews
- A virtual yet ‘tactile’ experience
- Support decision-making process – Instant gratification
- Personalised Online Shopping
Who’s already using it?
Some brands are already adopting AR as part of their strategies, to help merchants tackle real-life problems that consumers might encounter when they engage in online shopping. An example is eyewear brand Quay Australia, who offers a “Virtual Try-on” function. This allows customers to see what a variety of frames sunglasses look like on their face, by taking a custom 3D scan. For an item that, traditionally, required a customer to be physically present in-store, the use of AR has opened up omnichannel eCommerce opportunities for the retailer, boosting brand recognition and trust. The augmented reality functionality creates an immersive experience for the consumer and helps bring products to life.
Other well-known brands known for implementing Augmented Reality functionality into their eCommerce strategies include Wayfair, Ikea, Sephora (also a Progressive Web App), and Tap Painter.
The Future of AR
Are we ever going to return to the same habits as before? The traditional store infrastructure and the process might be a distant memory, meaning that retailers may be forced to embrace these innovative technologies. Is this the opportunity for Augmented Reality needs to step into the purchase process and become the new normal? Forward-thinking and innovative brands are already developing VR solutions that give their customers more variety and even more choices in how they shop.
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