In recent years, augmented reality (AR) has emerged as a promising technology for e-commerce and retail. AR is a type of technology that superimposes digital images, videos, or other content onto the real world, creating a composite view of the environment.
This technology allows consumers to interact with products in a more immersive way, enabling them to visualize and experience products before making a purchase. In this article, we will provide a guide to using augmented reality for e-commerce and retail.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality is a technology that overlays digital content onto the real world. This is done through the use of cameras, sensors, and software that track the position of objects and project digital content onto them.
AR can be used on smartphones, tablets, and other devices with cameras and screens. This technology enables users to interact with digital content in a more immersive and interactive way.
How is Augmented Reality Different From Virtual Reality?
Augmented reality and virtual reality (VR) are often used interchangeably, but they are different technologies. Virtual reality is a completely digital environment that users can interact with through a headset or other devices.
In contrast, augmented reality overlays digital content onto the real world. AR enhances the real world by adding digital content to it, while VR creates an entirely new world for users to explore.
Different Types of Augmented Reality Applications
There are several types of AR applications, each with its own unique features and capabilities. These include:
Marker-based AR uses a printed marker, such as a QR code, as a reference point for the AR software. When the user points their camera at the marker, the AR content is superimposed onto it. This type of AR is commonly used in advertising, education, and gaming.
Markerless AR does not require a printed marker. Instead, it uses software to track objects in the real world and overlay digital content onto them. This type of AR is often used in navigation, interior design, and architecture.
Location-based AR uses GPS and other location-tracking technologies to overlay digital content onto real-world locations. This type of AR is commonly used in tourism, advertising, and gaming.
Projection-based AR uses projectors to display digital content onto real-world objects. This type of AR is often used in museums, events, and retail displays.
Benefits of AR for eCommerce
AR offers several benefits for eCommerce businesses, including:
Enhanced Customer Experience – Augmented reality offers an immersive shopping experience, enabling customers to visualize products in real-world settings. This technology allows customers to try products virtually, such as trying on clothes, seeing furniture in their living room, or viewing a car in their driveway.
Increased Engagement – AR can increase customer engagement by allowing them to interact with products in unique ways, leading to more time spent on the eCommerce site and a higher chance of conversion.
Reduced Product Returns – AR helps customers make more informed purchasing decisions by seeing products in real-life settings before buying. As a result, customers are less likely to return products because they have a better understanding of how the product will look and feel.
Competitive Advantage – AR can differentiate eCommerce businesses from their competitors, offering a unique and innovative shopping experience that customers will remember.
Top Examples of Brands Successfully Implementing AR in E-Commerce
Many eCommerce brands have already implemented augmented reality into their businesses. Here are some examples:
IKEA – IKEA has a mobile app that uses AR technology to allow customers to preview furniture in their homes before buying. This helps customers visualize how furniture will look and fit in their space.
Sephora – Sephora’s Virtual Artist app lets customers try on makeup virtually, helping them choose the right product for their skin tone and preferences.
Adidas – Adidas has an AR feature in its app that allows customers to virtually try on shoes and see how they look on their feet.
Warby Parker – Warby Parker’s Virtual Try-On feature lets customers virtually try on glasses using their mobile device’s camera.
Why Your E-Commerce Store Needs to Embrace AR
Augmented reality can be a powerful tool for growing your e-commerce store. Here are a few ways it can help:
Increased Engagement: Augmented reality allows customers to interact with products in a way that is more engaging than traditional product images or videos. This increased engagement can lead to more time spent on your website or app and ultimately, more sales.
Reduced Returns: Virtual try-ons and visualizations can reduce the number of returns a store receives. By allowing customers to see how a product will look or fit before making a purchase, they are less likely to return it due to incorrect sizing or dissatisfaction with the appearance.
Differentiation: Augmented reality is still a relatively new technology in e-commerce, which means that implementing it can help differentiate your store from competitors. By offering a unique and engaging experience, you can stand out from other e-commerce businesses in your industry.
How to Bring Augmented Reality to Your Ecommerce Store
If you’re interested in implementing augmented reality in your e-commerce store, there are a few steps you can take:
Choose a Platform: There are several platforms that offer augmented reality features for e-commerce, including Shopify AR, Adobe Aero, and 8th Wall. Choose a platform that integrates with your e-commerce platform and has the features you need for your business.
Create AR-Ready Product Images: To implement augmented reality, you will need 3D models of your products. You can create these models yourself or hire a professional 3D modeling company to create them for you.
Implement AR Features: Once you have your 3D models, you can implement AR features on your website or mobile app. This can include virtual try-ons, product visualizations, and product demonstrations.
Promote Your AR Features: Once your AR features are live, be sure to promote them to your customers through your website, social media channels, and email marketing campaigns. This will help drive traffic to your store and increase engagement with your products.
Enhancing the Shopping Experience: Using AR to Wow Your Customers
Augmented reality is a technology that allows computer-generated images to be superimposed onto real-world images, creating an interactive and immersive experience. This technology can be used in a variety of ways to enhance the shopping experience for customers. Here are some ways that businesses can use AR to wow their customers:
Virtual Try-Ons: One of the biggest advantages of using AR in e-commerce and retail is the ability to offer virtual try-ons. Customers can use their smartphone or tablet to superimpose virtual images of products onto real-world images of themselves.
This allows them to see how the product looks on them before making a purchase, reducing the risk of returns and increasing customer satisfaction.
Product Visualization: AR technology can be used to create 3D visualizations of products, allowing customers to see every angle and detail of the product. This helps customers make more informed decisions about their purchases.
Interactive Experiences: AR can be used to create interactive experiences for customers. For example, retailers can create interactive product displays that allow customers to explore products in a fun and engaging way.
Enhance Product Descriptions:
AR technology can also be used to enhance product descriptions. For example, retailers can use AR to show customers how a product works, or to provide additional information about the product that may not be easily conveyed through text or images.
In-Store Navigation: AR can be used to create in-store navigation systems that guide customers to specific products or areas within the store. This can be especially useful in large stores where customers may have trouble finding what they are looking for.
AR technology provides a new way for retailers and e-commerce businesses to engage with their customers and enhance their shopping experiences.
By using virtual try-ons, product visualizations, interactive experiences, enhanced product descriptions, and in-store navigation, businesses can provide their customers with a more personalized and engaging shopping experience.
However, it is important to note that AR technology is still relatively new, and there may be some challenges to implementing it effectively. For example, some customers may not have the necessary hardware or software to use AR technology. Additionally, businesses may need to invest in new technology and resources to create AR experiences.
Despite these challenges, AR technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we shop, and businesses that are able to effectively implement this technology will be better positioned to compete in the ever-changing retail landscape.
Augmented Reality in Ecommerce FAQs
Q1: What is augmented reality?
Augmented reality is a technology that allows computer-generated images to be superimposed onto real-world images, creating an interactive and immersive experience.
Q2: How can businesses use AR in e-commerce?
Businesses can use AR in e-commerce to offer virtual try-ons, create 3D product visualizations, provide interactive experiences, enhance product descriptions, and create in-store navigation systems.
Q3: What are some challenges to implementing AR in e-commerce?
Some challenges to implementing AR in e-commerce include the need for customers to have the necessary hardware and software to use AR, and the need for businesses to invest in new technology and resources to create AR experiences.
Q4: Is AR technology still new?
Yes, AR technology is still relatively new, but it has the potential to revolutionize the way we shop.