Augmented Reality in eCommerce: The Future of Online Shopping
Augmented Reality is taking the customer experience to the next level with eCom platform optimization
Take a leap of imagination and turn it into reality. It might be a tough task in life but now possible with product previews on eCommerce platforms.
Need not imagine how a lamp would look on the bedside table or wonder will this lipstick shade suits my lips. All you need to do is click a picture or video upload on the eCom platform and see how that product fills the blank space with Augmented Reality.
The lack of a full sensory product experience is a major obstacle in online shopping. Physical stores allow you to try on clothes, feel fabrics, or visually assess the size of a couch in a space. However, with augmented reality (AR) applications, customers can gain more comprehensive product information without leaving their homes.
Let’s dig deeper to understand how Augmented reality is paving new ways to optimize customer experience and eCom platforms as well.
Augmented Reality in eCommerce
By using Augmented Reality for product display eCommerce marketplaces and brands are steadily moving towards providing customers with a more inclusive and immersive experience. A real-world-like environment with an interactive enhanced experience via digital elements, visuals, sounds, etc. Allowing shoppers to watch products in 3D or preview in their environment virtually like placing the item say a sofa in the empty space in your living room.
In simple terms, Augmented Reality (AR) simply augments a world that already exists. Augmented Reality (AR) provides previews by placing items in a real-world scenario. For example, try out frames on Lenskart after uploading your headshot video, ‘Amazon view’ which enables shoppers to try on lipsticks by uploading pictures or live video, and an AR-powered 'view in my room' feature.
Think back to Pokémon Go, one of the most well-known applications of augmented reality. Users would be playing the game while walking down the street, looking at the real environment through their phones, which overlaid digital characters in specific places.
Augmented reality is taking off rapidly. More & more advertisers and brands are deploying it to enhance customer experience.
A report by eMarketer stated that over 43 million people in the United States, which is approximately 21% of social network users, were expected to use social network AR monthly. The same report indicated that 35% of U.S. respondents had used AR to customize furniture or vehicles.
This is not just relevant for the U.S. but quite evident in the global digital commerce landscape. Especially in India where shoppers from tier-2 and tier-3 cities are warming up to online shopping with massive buying potential. With the increase in 5G availability and improved bandwidth, retailers are expected to show more interest in AR and VR experimentation.
As a result, more brands are adopting AR product previews, such as "Amazon View" and Flipkart's "View in my room". AR is particularly popular in the Beauty & Personal care segment for try-on purposes and in Home Décor & Furniture placement in a room.
How eCom businesses are using AR?
AR previews of products help customers make a purchase decision and make the shopping experience more personalized.
Virtual Try-On: It’s just like in a brick-and-mortar shop where you see a product on a mannequin, it looks great. But trying it helps make a more accurate purchase decision. Similarly, the virtual try-on uses the shopper’s photo or video to preview how the product looks. This also helps buyers understand what they are buying and if the item works for them.
Preview placement: For the Home décor and furniture segment preview placement is the perfect tool to attract shoppers. It helps place items in your room at your desired place. Shoppers can see how a 55’ inch TV would look on the wall or will that color and design bed will suit their bedroom. The real-time preview placement of products in Shoppers’ environment will help shoppers decide whether the product suits their needs or not.
Interactive user manuals: This is the more extensive use of AR-creating manuals as a response to user actions by scanning product indicating buttons or using graphical arrows, animation, etc.
Social media filters: Generally used for fun. Filters can also be used for try-on. That can help boost social Commerce sales. It can be used to showcase a new product by enabling people to test out how it’ll look on them.
According to a survey conducted by Google on AR usage among consumers, 66% of the participants expressed their interest in utilizing augmented reality technology to aid them while shopping.
How Augmented Reality can help eCommerce brands?
The challenge of representing a physical product in a virtual environment is one of the biggest obstacles to eCommerce. AR technology has the potential to help overcome this obstacle by providing a more accurate representation of the product and helping customers understand what they are buying. Some benefits of using AR technology in eCommerce are as follows:
Increase customer engagement: By offering an interactive experience, AR technology can encourage customers to stay on your website longer, increasing the chances of a purchase. Even if they do not buy it immediately. Engagement with the brand and product can lead to better recall in the future.
Reach new customers: To stand out in a crowded market, you need to create a buzz. A well-executed AR campaign can help capture attention and attract new customers.
Reduce returns: AR technology can provide customers with a more comprehensive view of the product than static images or videos. By showing how a product would look in a consumer's space, AR technology can help reduce the likelihood of returns due to unmet expectations.
According to recently published data by Shopify, an eCommerce platform, products that featured VR/AR content in their advertisements experienced a 94% increase in conversion rates compared to products that did not have such content.
Final Thoughts – What’s Next?
Augmented Reality is interactive and helps during the product evaluation and consideration phase of the customer journey which leads to purchase decisions, but a good interactive product display needs to be backed by strong product awareness.
The quest is to boost overall brand efficiencies, and optimizing the customer journey at every touch point is a vital part of it. mScanIt is the perfect companion to boost brand efficiencies. The Digital Commerce Intelligence Solution helps brands connect with customer needs and wants. It enables them to monitor and analyze key SKUs to provide actionable insights on brands, sub-brands, and categories across the platforms and geographies vis-à-vis competition.
Online shopping is all set to witness a new high with Virtual Reality and eCommerce Metaverse being the future of Omnichannel Sales across the digital commerce ecosystem. But as of now more and more eCom brands across market segments started using Augmented Reality for product previews, and the technology is all set to grow and be utilized more as it enhances the shopping experience on eCom marketplaces.