Augmented reality is beginning to play an important role in many facets of our lives. Whether it’s research, education, engineering, medicine or any other industry, AR has slowly crept in and left its march. eCommerce is no different. As in many other industries, this 21st century technology has not only enhanced the user experience, but can also increase sales and revenue and assist with customer service. That’s why augmented reality in eCommerce is becoming a major trend.
The growing influence of this technology in eCommerce is so strong that it is predicted that AR will have a US$1.6 billion market share. Similarly, another estimate suggests that over the next five years, the technology will be responsible for 20% of all online retail spending. Of course, having a small business doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of this too. This article will discuss how anyone can incorporate the technology to improve their business.
What is Augmented Reality?
Simply, it’s a revolutionary technology that’s impacting every industry. With Augmented Reality, you are adding a layer of virtual images or objects that enhance the real world experience. Compared to virtual reality, AR uses the real world as a canvas and creates a combination of real and virtual objects. This allows it to enhance everyday experiences from online shopping to training, teaching, and even entertainment.
How Can Augmented Reality be Applied to eCommerce?
There’s little doubt that this innovative technology will have a huge impact on the future of eCommerce. That’s because it offers creative solutions to many of the big issues that eCommerce businesses face. 54% of buyers want to visit brick and mortar stores to see items close up and try them on. But, with an AR app, buyers can experience the product as if they were in a real store. They can even see how it will look on them. Ikea was one of the earliest adopters of this technology, harnessing the power of AR to allow customers to “try” furniture and see how it will look in their space. These experiences allow customers to be more decisive about purchasing a product, which can result in increased sales.
The Visual Shopping Effect
As explained above the biggest challenge for online retailers is trying to find a way to help customers get a real sense of the item they’re thinking of buying. By seeing how furniture will look in their room or how a piece of clothing will look on them, they can simulate a real-life experience that can encourage them to make a purchase.
Social Media for Marketing
AR has even become popular in social media thanks to a plethora of features in Snapchat and Instagram. Many users now use filters and add-ons to enhance their photos and videos. eCommerce businesses can take advantage of this when marketing new products by creating their own filters and stickers, for example.
Virtual Stores for Enhanced UX
Instead of creating a run-of-the-mill online store, you can use AR to create an interactive virtual store where visitors can enjoy a “tour” and browse your products before adding them to their cart.
Making Shipping and Logistics Efficient
AR can also streamline your shipping and logistics processes by improving your warehouse planning. It can also make freight handling easier with apps that employees can use to avoid mistakes. Plus, regulatory processes and on-the-job training can all be done through this technology.
How Does Augmented Reality Help Businesses?
Augmented reality in online shopping can be life-altering for your business in more ways than one:
- It can improve the user experience for your store, making it more engaging and resulting in more conversions.
- Marketing and social media campaigns can be made experience-rich, giving a value-added experience to customers.
- Customers can virtually try on their products before making a purchase.
- It can improve your customer relationship.
What Are the Disadvantages of Augmented Reality?
As always there are few things you need to look out for if you’re thinking about using this 21st century technology in your online store:
- It’s expensive to develop and maintain.
- This technology currently has no security and it can be easily hacked.
- There’s a significant lack of privacy.
- Using AR can cause health issues.
Augmented Reality and eCommerce: 5 Brands That Are Winning the Game
Many big companies have already seen that augmented reality is eCommerce’s future and are already using it to great success. Here are just a few companies that have found the key to a great augmented reality eCommerce app:
- Sephora: Perhaps one of the best examples, this beauty brand allows customers to virtually try on different makeup looks and even match them to different outfits.
- IKEA: IKEA lets you try out furniture and household items in your house and room to see how they look before you buy them.
- Amikasa: Like IKEA, this renowned augmented reality eCommerce app lets you design your home with furniture and other household items from real brands. You can then buy the items through the app.
- Tap Painter: As the name suggests, this app lets you decide the color of the paint you want to use on your walls, including getting a swatch to pick the color you want. You can select from actual brands and buy through the app.
- Quiver: This app is an interactive way for kids to play. They can download images and color them. Then, Quiver will turn them into life.
Is Augmented Reality Right For My Business?
There’s no doubt that augmented reality will be a big part of eCommerce in the future. By enhancing the user experience, you’ll keep your customers engaged and coming back for a personalized shopping experience. It can also help increase conversions and sales. While it may not be easy to implement, it’s worth doing if you want your eCommerce business to stay competitive in the future.
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