Augmented Reality or commonly referred to as AR is one of the latest technological advancements that have been taking the corporate world by storm. Despite being relatively young, this innovation has been significantly changing not just the marketing landscapes but also the perceptions and expectations of consumers. It has set the bar way higher.
The great thing about AR is that several brilliant minds are tirelessly teaming up to further explore and better enhance this technology. In fact, tech experts expect that by 2025 almost all smartphone users, or 75% of the global population will become frequent users of AR.
So whether you’re a startup or a well-established e-commerce business owner, let’s further understand the augmented reality definition and check out how you can utilize this to your advantage.
Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality: What Makes These Tech Innovations Wise Business Investments?
Augmented Reality (AR) is often interchanged with Virtual Reality (VR). While both are immersive technologies with significant impacts on various processes, transactions, and operations, these are two different concepts.
For one, AR is meant to amplify a real-life environment by incorporating virtual information or digital data. VR, on the other hand, is designed to create an entirely different reality or a new environment.
When it comes to equipment, VR is more demanding and complicated compared to AR. With AR, all you need is a compatible smartphone. While with VR, you’ll be needing special sensors and headsets.
Regardless of the differences though, both technologies have paved their way into the corporate world – specifically e-commerce. Both AR and VR offer different approaches to more targeted marketing, as well as different levels of satisfactory customer experience.
But since AR is more accessible and more affordable, more businesses invest and adopt this tech innovation first. Plus, this visual technology offers timely interaction, 3-dimensional presentation, and a well-balanced combination of the real world and virtual reality. AR is a more personal approach that targets human emotions and perceptions. So with the right implementation and management, augmented reality can significantly boost your brand awareness and business sales.
Overall, AR enables you to offer a first-hand experience of your brand before they even spend anything, making your consumers feel that you’re more concerned with their experience than your sales. And by doing so, you’re establishing trust and confidence.
These are some of the reasons why modern consumers prefer brands with AR services.
- Get the Perfect Fit. They get an actual preview of how a furniture or accessory blends with the overall aesthetics of the house, car, or whatever stuff they’re shopping for.
- Preview of the Final Look. They get to see and feel first if the dress fits them perfectly or the cosmetics match their skin tone or the kicks suit their character.
- Understand User Manuals. They get to read and understand user manuals without even noticing as the visual representations usually eradicate boredom.
- Set Proper Expectations. They get to set their expectations better, and by purchasing means that they are fully aware and committed to experiencing your products/services.
Leveling Up Consumer Experience: What are Some Real-Life Augmented Reality E-Commerce Examples?
Recent studies show that around 66% of consumers are interested in using AR when shopping. That being said, more and more businesses have started launching their versions of AR shopping.
IKEA, for instance, introduced an AR app that can showcase a 3D version of furniture printed in their traditional catalogs, helping consumers decide which type, design, color, or size would be the best choice for their homes.
Here are some other well-known brands that are now using AR for more personalized and effective marketing.
Their Shoe Sampler AR allows their consumers to check out how their footwear would look on them. Just access the app, focus your phone camera on your feet, and start shopping. Now you can get your new pair of kicks anytime and anywhere.
Their My Foremark Fitting website allows customers to try on jewelry of their choice. Use printed copies or cut-outs of the accessories, bring them closer to where they should go (earlobes for earrings, neck for a necklace, etc.), and you’d know which to buy.
Aside from having a real-life-like experience of the car and its parts – from the seats to the steering wheel to the dashboard to the center console – users can learn more about the automobile’s specifications and access various video tutorials.
Thanks to AR, now the fun can start as early as shopping. Lego stores have stationary AR stands that allow customers to see and play with whatever comes in the box of their choice. They also offer 3D representations of their printed catalogs using a mobile app.
When shopping for new clothes, you no longer have to worry about a dress that awkwardly fits or pants that are too long. Topshop uses AR on their fitting kiosks where you can simply stand in front of a mirror to efficiently try on their products.
Augmented Reality Technology: Why E-Commerce Businesses Should Consider Adopting?
- 1B people across the globe now use AR.
- 100M customers have been using AR while shopping as of 2020.
- 61% of consumers prefer retailers or shopping centers that offer AR experiences.
- 71% of consumers claim they would shop more often if the brand has AR.
- 40% of consumers are more likely to purchase products they can customize via AR.
- 40% increase in conversion rate is expected should your business adopt AR.
As of 2021, various shopping centers and retail businesses claim to experience a 200% increase in sales because of AR. And if the numbers still don’t convince you, here’s an itemized list of reasons why augmented reality is a wise business investment.
Modern Solution to Consumer Pain Points
AR allows consumers to experience your products or services before they even commit to purchasing or subscribing. Aside from luring them closer to checking out, you get to efficiently address their concerns; thus, providing a more satisfactory and impacting customer experience.
More Personalized and Targeted Marketing
Since it’s immersive and intuitive, AR enables business owners to create more personalized and customized marketing campaigns. AR’s 3D tech feature helps set better expectations, allowing entrepreneurs to better market their brands and highlight what they have to offer.
Stronger Online Presence and Broader Market Reach
AR is one of the tech trends in the business world because of its intriguing and enticing features. And because of the convenience and efficiency it brings, it piques the interest of more consumers, especially Gen Z. So aside from standing out from your competitors, you could also enjoy the benefits of a word-of-mouth marketing strategy since those consumers you attract usually have multiple social circles whom they could share your products/services to.
Compared to other technologies such as VR, AR is more affordable and accessible. For instance, with AR, you can simply start incorporating 3D renderings – a feature of AR – and feel a significant boost in your conversion rates. Plus, more platforms enable you to design your preferred AR kiosk or the AR platform that best suits your brand – and yes, even without all those fancy tech skills.
Lower Return Rate; Higher Conversion Rate
Aside from 3D visuals, AR lets your target consumers experience first-hand your products before making a purchase. This means that by the time you’ve convinced them to check out, they’ve decided and committed, reducing the chances of returns or refund requests.
The Future of the E-Commerce World: What Augmented Reality Has in Store?
By 2024, the market value of AR is expected to be around $50B. This means that the brilliant minds and creative hands behind this tech innovation have no plans of stopping. In fact, as early as 2020, augmented reality has been manifesting several game-changing contributions to the eCommerce world.
AR is expected to rejuvenate the retail shopping industry, enhancing in-store and online experiences. It aims to keep eCommerce businesses at par with the ever-evolving demands and changes of the eCommerce industry.
One thing to look forward to is the more polished blend of Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence. AI is believed to make AR work better as its smart algorithms can enhance the augmentation of real-life environments and improve the responsiveness of AR platforms.
Cross-platform AR apps/sites, as well as more compact AR glasses, are now in the works. These are also great AR advancements to watch out for. To be honest, no one knows for sure what AR still has in store since this amazing technology is basically limitless. One thing is for sure though, augmented reality is perceived as the future of several industries, most especially e-commerce.
As of 2022, about 42% of marketers plan to invest in AR. Be one of those wise entrepreneurs. Never let amazing tech innovations such as augmented reality go to waste. Use such an opportunity to ace up your game.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is augmented reality?
AR is an immersive technology that creates an amplified version of real-life environments by incorporating virtual information and digital visuals.
How does augmented reality work for e-commerce businesses?
The most commonly used feature of AR is 3D modeling wherein e-commerce businesses create 3D versions of their products for a more realistic customer experience.
What e-commerce problems can AR solve?
Aside from creating a more satisfying consumer experience, AR can solve challenges in certain business operations such as inventory, listing, reporting, tracking, and more.
How does AR help entrepreneurs and advertisers/marketers?
AR enables entrepreneurs to offer their target audiences real-life experiences, information, and expectations. These could directly boost their brand awareness, market reach, online reputation, and overall sales.