It’s a well-known fact that technology and changing consumer demands have been the two key forces driving the evolution of ecommerce and online retail. From delivering omni-channel experiences supported by on-demand deliveries and superior logistics to leveraging behaviour analytics and delivering better, more personalised consumer experiences.
Currently, one such technology is standing at the precipice of yet another transformation. It’s none other than augmented reality, popular known as AR. In fact, the rapid adoption and standout results achieved by augmented reality commerce has grown so much that 75% consumers expect brands and retailers to offer AR-enabled experiences.
In this article, we look at 4 reasons why augmented reality is the future of online shopping:
4 Reasons Why AR Is The Future Of Online Commerce
In many ways, augmented reality is tailor-made for the world of ecommerce and online retail. Essentially, augmented reality enables online shoppers to virtually try-on products on themselves or place them in their own space- with their smartphones and tablets.
As a result, countless brands like IKEA, Target, Gucci, Burberry, Nike, Converse, Sephora, Warby Parker and more have rolled out highly realistic and accurate AR shopping experiences, primarily because:
– These try-before-you-buy experiences remove purchase indecisions and boosts buying confidence which leads to increased conversions
– They also reduces returns as consumers are more likely to buy the right product when they can check size, fit, texture by trying it themselves- like they would do in a physical store
– Not to mention, augmented reality makes online shopping interactive and engaging, unlike static product images and videos
It’s fair to say that up until now, there’s never been one technology that single-handedly offers these many benefits. So without further ado, let’s dive into exactly why augmented reality is transforming online retail and commerce:
1. Easy Virtual Try-Ons
Perfect for: apparel, shoes, makeup, eyewear, hats and accessories
Up until now, shopping online meant going through countless product images or videos, checking the size guide, in most cases ordering two different sizes and returning one (or both) if it doesnt match fit or style expectations. This has been one of the biggest challenge for brands and retailers to overcome as they strive to not only reduce returns but remove purchase indecisions.
The new way: With AR enabled virtual try-ons, consumers can now try out products on themselves. So for instance, they could see how a shoe looks and fits their feet or how a shade of lipstick or sunglasses looks on their face. This naturally removes purchase hesitations as customers no longer need to second guess how something would look on them.
2. Seamless See-It-In-Your-Space
Perfect for: furniture, home and kitchen appliances, home decor
Another growingly popular way to leverage augmented reality is the see it in your space functionality. With this online shoppers can place products in their own home, office or any environment to gauge size, fit and style- as if it is right there with them.
It’s no secret that consumers are often hesitant to buy big products online as they would rather check it out themselves in the store- especially when it comes to furniture. And even then they need to first measure out the space they are buying for.
With AR powered see-it-in-your-space, key consumer questions like- how big is this sofa? will it fit and match my interiors? will this fridge look bulky in my kitchen?- are all answered as they can simply point their smartphones to place the product and check for themselves.
3. Virtual store aisles
When it comes to shopping at supermarkets or retail outlets with physical aisles, there’s a sense of habit and familiarity that consumers enjoy. With virtual store aisles, the same physical experience can be replicated online. Here, online shoppers can browse through aisles virtually, check product information and add them to their cart.
4. Interactive AR marketing and brand campaigns
For the majority of retailers and brands out there, social media is a big beast to tame. With increasing competition and reducing consumer attention span, there’s no option but to be creative- especially when one is trying to generate engagement and brand reach.
Here, AR experiences have proven to be highly effective. Inherently immersive AR based campaigns have shown incredible results for brands like IKEA, Nike, Sephora, Warby Parker and more. Compared to product images and videos, by far social media users are responding extremely positively to interactive try-ons for example where they can see a product on themselves- right from their Facebook or Instagram feeds.
Augmented reality has come a long way from its early days, where key brands have validated its use and consumer response. As a new and improved way for brands to reach, engage and sell to consumers, augmented reality is set to reach new heights and become an industry standard in the near future.