Most people want to give trials before making a final purchase decision. In ecommerce, this was not possible a few years back. With the advancement of technology, this is now possible, thanks to the rise of Augmented Reality (AR). AR enables users to try a product/filter virtually in real-time in a real-life setting. Already the effects of augmented reality are visible across many digital platforms. This technology has the potential to bring revolutionary changes to the ecommerce world. Keep reading to know how augmented reality can transform ecommerce for betterment.
Augmented reality is a technology equipped with artificial intelligence that produces computer-generated images and places them in real-life via a screen. It adds multiple layers of digital information to our physical world and offers a unified view of the combination of digital and real worlds.
The first effort to effectuate augmented reality dates back to the early 60s. But it took all these years to reach today’s dynamic development. Since AR requires devices with high computational power to work competently while processing images, it is still not accessible to all users. Within three-four years, we expect AR to take over every ecommerce store and social media platform.
AR has seen the highest ever spike in its use in 2019. Tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Google have come forward with serious commitments to developing augmented reality technology. That indicates that the use of AR will enhance exponentially in the following years. The number of AR-enabled devices reached a record-breaking 1.5 billion in 2019 and it’s likely to accumulate 3.4 billion by the end of 2020.
Taking account of the current ecommerce trends, I can foresee that the future of online shopping will largely rely on augmented reality. According to a report, about 100 million people are expected to adopt AR-compatible shopping technologies in 2020. And 61% of customers said that they’d prefer a retailer that provides AR experiences over a traditional retailer. So, it’s high time to integrate AR into your ecommerce shops, otherwise, get ready to face a substantial downturn in sales.
When people shop online, they can’t feel or touch a product before it comes to their hands. This is not possible to touch something from a long distance, but AR helps users get as close as possible to a product through a screen. Now, you can preview products in your own environment in real-time before making a purchase. This will surely shape the future of ecommerce. How? Read on to know more.
Using different AR filters and effects is really fun. A large number of users try out AR technology in ecommerce, though they don’t have buying intent. According to statistics, customer engagement reaches a 66% increase after integrating AR technology into online stores. It hooks customers to your website and the longer a person stays on your site, the more he/she is likely to buy something. Even if they buy nothing from you, enhanced engagement helps them build a strong relationship with your brand. This will motivate them to purchase from you in the future.
AR technology allows ecommerce companies to boost brand awareness and attract prospective customers in a creative manner. You can run effective marketing campaigns to reach thousands of consumers with the help of AR. For example, you can run a contest on your social media account encouraging viewers to try on your products and share from their profiles following a set of rules designed by you with a view to promoting your brand. They can use catchy captions, branded hashtags, and share their experiences of using AR as a part of the contest/social media challenge. Thus, you can spread your brand to a large audience and attract new customers.
Snapchat became popular after they introduced AR filters. Facebook, Instagram, and other social media are also using AR technology in full swing. At first, it was all about fun activities, but futuristic brands understood its capabilities as a game-changer in the ecommerce industry and are embracing AR technology wholeheartedly. I have already described above how social media can be used to create brand awareness.
Almost all brands now have social media accounts. You can make a powerful presence in social media by introducing AR filters associated with your brand. For example, an Italian cosmetics company, We Makeup created try-on filters enabling its consumers to try different shades of its makeup components on their face/skin. If a user liked a shade of a product, he/she could buy that right away.
The main purpose of AR is to help users to buy the right products as per their needs. It allows customers to see how a product complements them or their surroundings in a real-life environment. During this virtual product placement session, one can easily decide whether to buy it or not. This sort of product preview can prevent wrong purchases to a great extent.
An average of 40% of product returns occurs due to the wrong fit, size, or color. A virtual trial can reduce this rate significantly. Especially products like dresses, wristwatches, jewelry pieces, eyeglasses, etc. fashion wear ecommerce stores can reap amazing results by making use of AR technology. If you integrate AR technology in your business, people will be able to try different products on themselves and see if these items are ideal for them. Thus, AR technology can transform customers' online shopping experience remarkably.
You may need a comprehensive user manual to use sophisticated products that involve high difficulty levels. Sellers of such products can come up with an AR-enabled user guide that can automatically show necessary information for the users through a software interface or website. For example, Daimler AG and IBM jointly launched a virtual assistance app for reputed car manufacturing company Mercedes. If you focus your camera at the driving panel, it will guide you in real-time. Besides, you'll get all your questions answered instantly with this highly interactive user manual.
People visit a brick and mortar shop for mostly the convenience it offers in terms of giving trials in the changing room. If an online shop can offer the same, why would someone go the long way? According to a report, 22% of people will patronize physical stores less if AR is made available in ecommerce stores at a larger scale. And 77% of consumers like to use AR to check on product variants comprising colors, designs, and styles. Analyze these numbers, you’ll understand how AR can propel ecommerce growth significantly. Besides, AR can help confused customers visualize the products in a real-life context, and that will assist them in making a buying decision. All these things combined can increase the conversion rate.
Creating an AR system from scratch is possible, but it requires a lot of investments along with a highly skilled development team. Most startups, small, and medium ecommerce companies can't afford these expenses. My suggestion is to take help from existing AR companies consisting of experienced campaigners. If you can provide customers with a pleasant AR experience, you'll definitely grow as an exemplary ecommerce company in the market.
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