Taru M. Updated : November 22, 2022
Online shopping was revolutionary when it was first introduced to people decades ago.
However, one of the major drawbacks of online shopping was the user’s inability to try the product before buying it. eCommerce platforms have since then tried to make their customer’s experience as smooth as possible.
To ensure optimum customer retention and satisfaction, eCommerce platforms have incorporated services such as the live chat option, visual engagement tools, size charts, conversational bots, hassle-free checkouts, exchange and return policies, comprehensive product pages with review sections, etc.
But still, these platforms could not match the satisfaction of the try-on facility of the physical shopping experience—until the technologists and developers began exploring the possibilities of the application of augmented reality in eCommerce.
The introduction of augmented reality in eCommerce allowed retailers to reimagine the possibilities of the digital shopping experience.
How? Read this entire blog.
In the last couple of years, especially during the years following the catastrophe of the pandemic, the use of AR technologies has spiked up. Augmented reality technology enabled contactless viewing and shopping by allowing customers to view products virtually.
According to recent data, the use of augmented reality technology in Middle-Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia and UAE is as high as 45%. It is expected to surpass this percentage by 2025.
The popularity of augmented reality in eCommerce is not only limited to the Middle East. It is predicted that by 2025, one-third of people in the United States will have used augmented reality technology to shop online. It is estimated that the market value of AR will reach $50 Billion and will impact various industries ranging from medicine to entertainment (and much more).
You must be wondering why are customers and retailers inclining toward AR technology and how exactly does augmented reality facilitate eCommerce? Let’s find out.
AR alter the physical reality by augmenting it with digital objects and simulations. This intervention allows innovative brands to create an immersive try-on experience for customers that, as data indicates, increases conversion rates. Though, the catch is to create intuitive UX for Augmented Reality apps.
For example, Levi’s collaborated with Squad—a popular screen-sharing application where a group can virtually meet together and share their screens so that they all can look at the same content at once.
Levi’s, in collaboration with Squad, developed an augmented virtual closet that enabled their customers to conduct virtual styling group sessions. With the use of augmented reality technology, the group is guided by a stylist who gives styling tips and product recommendations based on the group’s interests.
Furthermore, to capture GenZ on social media, brands from time-to-time roll out AR filters that make their campaigns reach billions overnight.
Let’s see how different business verticals are using AR and its impact on their customers.
The beauty industry has been actively incorporating the use of AR technology to upsurge the sale of its beauty products.
Especially during and after the pandemic, when people were more concerned than ever about making purchases using the in-store tester products—augmented reality technology was at their rescue.
One of the biggest examples out there is the Sephora Virtual Artist, which allows customers to try lipsticks, eyeshadow, false lashes, and other beauty products that Sephora sells. Not only this, it also gives beauty tutorials, helping and teaching customers about the correct application of the beauty product.
To date, more than 200 million swatches have been tried on the app, with over 8.5 million visits. This approach resulted in a significant acceleration of 11% in the beauty retail store.
Just like Sephora, another beauty industry giant, L’Oreal is also using immersive technology for its online sales acceleration. The facility of virtual make-up and hair try-on, along with skin assessment and diagnosis, proved to be profitable for their business.
The fashion Industry is also actively using augmented reality to influence consumers into buying their products. The use of immersive technologies such as AR helps user’s to feel more connected with the product they intend to buy. Using AR, brands on their eCommerce platforms can create virtual fitting rooms for their consumers.
Burberry, one of the most recognized fashion brands in the UK, has been utilizing augmented reality to enhance customer experience and brand promotion.
They collaborated with the renowned artist Danny Sangra, who created Burberry-inspired drawings, which were combined with their eCommerce store for an iOS application. The customers could click pictures using Sangra’s drawings and post them on their social media.
This proved to be an extremely beneficial promotional stunt for the brand using AR.
Not only in terms of apparel but AR is also being used by shoe manufacturing brands like Converse. The leading shoe brand created its own augmented reality app, which allowed customers to view how the shoes would look on their feet in an augmented digital environment. This method of facilitating try-on features with the help of augmented reality tools and a smartphone was an instant hit among converse fans.
One of the biggest challenge everyone experiences while buying furniture (or anything related to decor) is the fact that until the product is finally placed at its desired position, the customers aren’t sure about the final result. However, the progress in augmented reality has solved this problem.
IKEA’s AR mobile application ended customers’ confusion related to the products. This implication of augmented reality technology enabled users to view true-to-scale renditions of the products based on the room dimensions with almost 98% accuracy.
Another mobile application, Primer, uses AR tools to show users how a product would go on their chosen wall and even color suggestions. The mobile application scans the wall, adjusts and responds to room lighting, and considers existing furniture and decor objects.
Thus, regarding interior and home decor, AR technology allows users to make more intelligent decisions while shopping online.
Augmented reality renders virtual try-on solutions, thus, enabling online shoppers to immerse themselves into the product they intend to buy fully. Inevitably, digital augmentations of reality render users brand new online shopping experiences. It is intriguing for the customers to try the products from their favorite brands from the comfort of their homes.
All these features prompt the customers to try more products with the digital augmentations of the project without physically exhausting themselves like in a brick-and-mortar store setup. Thus, increasing overall customer engagement.
Brands can use AR technology as a marketing tool to popularize their products and attract more customers. One way of doing this could be by shooting AR promotional videos or by launching a brand-specific AR filter on social media platforms—which would encourage users to try the brand’s eCommerce website or application and might also lead to increased online sales.
Shoppers are often skeptical while shopping online because they cannot really visualize how the product would look physically, but the advent of AR is helping retailers bridge this gap by offering virtual try-on solutions with the help of AR.
Statistics reveal that up to 61% of people prefer to shop online if the eCommerce platform offers AR features. This has led to a considerable increase in the conversion rate of eCommerce web and mobile applications, i.e., increased online sales.
Since online shoppers are ‘virtually’ trying on the product, they are confident about the product they buy. Hence, they are likely to be satisfied with the product (when delivered), which leads to a considerable reduction in return rates.
Building AR filters is a creative process and can be made as interactive as possible. It is all about understanding what intrigues your customers and building around that. Although all the interactive features should be well within the context of the product/s your eCommerce platform intends to share.
The benefits of AR are not only limited to customers, retailers too can benefit from the virtues of AR.
AR overlays are digital augmentations in the real world that can be viewed on a smart device such as a phone or glasses. Tech giants – Meta and Microsoft, to name a few – are actively investing in making hardware more usable and cost-effective to derive mass adoption. In retail, product managers or inventory supervisors can simply access sales data by wearing AR glasses and accessing the information overlaid on the products.
This helps in hassle-free synchronization between the warehouse and the web portal.
It is necessary for an AR application to have at least 60 frames per second. Below that, users will have a jarring experience. Add to that, graphics processing power is drastically low compared to laptops or desktops. In order to give smooth and intuitive UX, AR developers must know how to optimize code so that GPU and CPU are not overloaded.
When developers are focussed on performance, the AR app doesn’t drain the battery. Otherwise, continuous frame updates and high-resolution 3D content would not only negatively impact the battery’s life but will also make loading and state changes so low that users will leave your AR app in frustration.
That is why look for an experienced Augmented Reality company if you want to support your business with AR experiences.
Augmented reality has been a great boon to people regarding user experience and feasibility. However, we must also realize that humans are social animals and the catastrophe of the pandemic provided this fact. Therefore, AR, if used in excess, may devoid humans of the sense of physical connection with fellow human beings.
AR technology is a relatively new technology for its use in eCommerce. This means a lot of people, especially those not well versed with the technology, might find it challenging to learn the workings of the AR features in an eCommerce platform. Even the best brands have quite often designed a poor AR onboarding experience.
Augmented Reality will continue to prove to be an excellent business tool. One of the main reasons behind this is that it can be implemented across many industries, such as retail, healthcare, education, gaming, the military, etc.
The possibility of creating digital Avatars using augmented reality technology is already making waves. Many gaming and social networking platforms have started allowing users to create personalized digital avatars.
Technology developers are also working towards improving AR glasses’ user experience so that they can be implemented in various settings and render a unique experience to the user.
Soon, AR will be intermeshed with our daily lives just like mobile devices. This is the belief not only of us but Apple’s CEO – Tim Cook – reverberated the same thought.
AR apps are already in the App Store, but the possibilities will go much, much further. I think AR is a profound technology that will affect everything. Imagine suddenly being able to teach with AR and demonstrate things that way. Or medically, and so on. Like I said, we are really going to look back and think about how we once lived without AR. – Tim Cook
Inevitably, AR is slowly and seamlessly paving its way into our lives and gradually becoming an integral part of our daily lives.
We have extensive experience with AR/VR technology. In the last couple of years, we have worked on creating AR filters for different brands as well implemented this novel technology in sensitive industries like healthcare. We would love to work on useful and enjoyable AR experiences. Share your project with our cross-platform mobile app development company.
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For over 18 years, Taru M. is a successful technology entrepreneur by profession and a tech enthusiast by spirit. She takes pride in offering expertise in her domain to business people's success across the globe. As a business woman and technology expert, she manages to keep her balance along with her family responsibilities. She did her masters in computers, and her work delivery shows the expertise of her education. Connect with her via Linkedin profile to know more about her exciting personality
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