June 3, 2021

How Augmented Reality in eCommerce can Increase Customer Experience and Engagement?

The topic of Augmented Reality in eCommerce has become very popular lately for many reasons. Technology constantly changes from time to time and can provide a business opportunity for improvement.

So, what are the benefits of Augmented Reality in eCommerce? How will the eCommerce business take advantage of one of the latest technologies - Augmented Reality or AR for short?

This article outlines the main points on what you need to know about Augmented Reality, which by the way is different from Virtual Reality or VR.

What is Augmented Reality?

What is Augmented Reality? Is it something that helps you? Should I invest in it?

One of the first things to note and where there has been some confusion is to realize that Augmented Reality or for short AR, is different from Virtual Reality or VR.

Augmented Reality is an improved version of this natural world. The technology modifies elements you see, sounds you listen to, and other sensory stimuli through the medium you are using. Augmented Reality in eCommerce is one of the latest and fast-growing trends among companies around the world and many brands, retailers and businesses are taking the opportunity to improve their offerings with this technology.

Today, many companies involved in business applications and mobile computing implement AR technology. According to experts, this technology aims to derive accessible and intelligent insights for better business engagement, increase understanding of the advanced technology features, and highlight those unique features of the physical world. 

Providing an Augmented Reality experience provides assistance in the decision-making process for users. The results hopefully can give insight into the habits of consumers and Retail and eCommerce companies can utilise this technology to their benefit.

Augmented Reality development continues to be more pervasive, and it applies to various ranges of applications. Marketers and technology firms adopt the innovation and turn Augmented reality in eCommerce into a marketing tool.

Early adopters in the retail sector have developed technology to enhance the customer experience during shopping time. One of the reasons why Augmented Reality in eCommerce is getting to be popular.

So, how do retailers implement AR in their business?

They can put AR in their catalogue apps. Consumers later can visualize each item according to its environment. A furniture store is a place that gets a massive benefit from AR. AR catalogues allow users to know how one furniture piece looks in a room in different settings.

Augmented Reality online shopping allows users to get the excitement of trying new potential purchases out before parting with their money.

augmented reality in ecommerce

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality: What’s the difference?

Both reality options deliver experience through audio and video, with HD resolutions. Yet, AR and VR come as two slightly different experiences.

The main difference between these two is how they provide the environment. While AR delivers a partly immersive Reality, VR offers completely immersive isolated Reality. In the end, users can take a look around at "real" things in the AR world.

Augmented Reality eCommerce

Retail Augmented Reality can provide a differentiator and a hook, as people love to try new things for free, which encourages them to buy items from the store that comes up with AR catalogues.

Augmented Reality in eCommerce is heating up and those companies and corporations that provide the best experience for clients and prospective consumers will stand head and shoulders above their competition.

AR in the eCommerce business allows users to feel more secure when buying products online. You may have heard that people buy cheap items that end up different to their expectations once they receive them. This issue makes people lower their trust in online shopping, which can affect your business. AR helps provide that confidence back to the user as they can view what they are actually purchasing and exactly what it will look like. This Augmented Reality experience can cover a view in an intended location or even on their own person.

#1 Preview placement

As mentioned earlier, buying the wrong items from an online store is very common. The most common mistake is the size that is too big or too small.

Preview placement for the product in augmented reality with eCommerce allows users to know how every item looks in a room. They can figure out the size and how it would look in specific settings. Long story short, preview placement features help customers to get a glimpse of a product in real-time.

You don’t need to rely on your imagination alone when an eCommerce provides this feature through their site or mobile application.

#2 Virtual try-on

According to customer experience surveys, people returned items from big eCommerce shops due to the wrong colour, size, or fit. Until today, not every brand offers a virtual try-on feature. As its name suggests, virtual try-on allows users to put the item virtually and see whether or not they like it.

This feature is only possible with the application of Augmented Reality (AR) technology.

Warby Parker, one of the eyeglass makers, has applied Augmented Reality in eCommerce to enhance customer experiences. People can see how every eyeglass model looks on their faces. It helps them find what they need and like without worrying that they’ll buy the wrong item, improving the customer experience and engaging potential consumers.

Some well-known jewellery stores have also applied this technology.

Keep in mind that people love to see how they look without buying it in the first place.

#3 Using social media filters

When it comes to Augmented Reality eCommerce, social media filters are powerful tools for a business. For instance, Instagram was providing those filters for fun. Today, various brands bring the opportunity to another  level. The number of brands that have joined the Instagram filter party is an indication of how popular social media filters are.

Why use AR filters in social media?

  • People will have a higher awareness of a brand or product. Using a filter is a smart way to test how excited people are about a product.
  • Better engagement is another benefit of why popular brands use social media filters for their marketing strategy. One of the most popular ways is by asking social media users to tag you in their posts or stories to win a competition.
  • A wow factor is another reason why companies and brands use filters as part of Augmented Reality in eCommerce strategies. It simply displays and highlights what makes your brand special.

A famous example is We MakeUp, an Italian cosmetic brand, made an AR filter on Facebook. Those filters allow people to find their favorite shades and how their selections look on their faces virtually. Users can also find the perfect match before purchasing right away.

#4 Interactive guidebook

How will people use or assemble a product without a guidebook or manual? According to a survey, some product manuals were too hard to understand.

Today, several brands take Augmented Reality in eCommerce more seriously. With the enhancement of the digital world, brands started making interactive user handbooks for their websites or software. Later, people can take a look at the website anytime they need.

What’s the point of Augmented Reality technology for a retail website?

As mentioned earlier, the goal of AR applications in the eCommerce world is to provide more autonomy to the users. The presence of the interactive user manual allows users to use the platform anytime they need and in a way that they need.

Ask Mercedes is one of those brands that provide an interactive guide on the website. This brand wanted customers to enjoy and explore various features and functional elements. The best part is that they can use it playfully.

augmented reality in ecommerce

What are the benefits of Augmented Reality?

Lots of things can be minimized with the presence of Augmented Reality in eCommerce, in your business. eCommerce is a party that reaps the most significant benefit out of it. Of course, it is for the sake of your brand and your customers in the first place.

So, what are the benefits of implementing Augmented Reality in eCommerce?

#1 Minimize returned goods

We discussed returned goods a bit earlier in this article. This occurrence happens due to two factors: product defects and unhappy customers. 

Product defects are the manufacturer’s issue. You have to perform quality control before sending the item to your customer. Thus, if the product defect is the reason for returned goods, you know where to give your opinion.

However, if your clients return your goods due to customer satisfaction issues, you need a solution to solve the problem. The most common thing that makes people return their items is that they don’t match their imagination.

Thus, you have to utilise the advantages of augmented reality. By providing a virtual environment where you can try out things before buying.

#2 Higher level of customer satisfaction

When it comes to augmented reality uses, you can take advantage of it to increase your customer satisfaction level. The easiest way to start your online retail business is by joining a well-known eCommerce platform. However, not all marketplace facilitates returning goods flexibly, which could lead to unhappy customers.

When customers are unhappy, they will find a way or place to show their opinion. Augmented reality can help consumers see the dimensions of your product in a physical world.

AR technology will suit furniture stores, paint shops, and similar online stores. Before buying paints, you can see how interesting a room would look. You could even purchase the matching colours at the same time too.

#3 Increasing profit

You will need a lot of money to build an eCommerce website, especially if you put AR technology in it. However, keep in mind that all of this is an investment. But how will you harvest your profit if you must spend lots of dollars in the first place?

As mentioned earlier – and proved everywhere – Augmented Reality in eCommerce triggers increased customer satisfaction.

By applying this technology, you will see that your opportunities get bigger.

  • Augmented Reality in eCommerce helps in increasing customer satisfaction.
  • Your customers will come back and buy more from you.
  • Better customer satisfaction means increased profit.

How will augmented Reality affect your business?

Augmented reality is becoming a new and innovative marketing way to personalize products, both in-store and online. Consumers can visualize furniture or decoration models while standing in their house. This allows customers to try, experience, or interact with products they cannot physically touch.

The world of Augmented Reality is a combination of virtual and physical worlds, with components from the real world. Augmented Reality delivers immersive experiences, especially to eCommerce customers.

BigCommerce reports that 67% of Millennial shoppers and 56% of Gen Xers would prefer to purchase online than in a store. Augmented Reality provides them with the interactive, gamified experience with which most of them grew up. U.S. 2018 sales revenue from Augmented Reality was $1.26 billion. It’s estimated to grow to over $15.5 billion by 2020 (Statista). You should find a full-service Augmented Reality company to help develop and implement AR to stay ahead of your competition.

Using the help of professionals also reduces the production cost and time to market

The best part of augmented reality is that users feel more connected. With more companies grabbing the advantage of this AR technology, to reach more customers, people are getting used to the technology and can enjoy advertising in a 3D view.

augmented reality in ecommerce

Summary

Augmented Reality is an innovation in the technology sector that allows a more interactive and immersive experience, keeping the potential customer engaged with your product and business.

Implementing an augmented reality platform is not cheap, but the potential to bring more customers and new opportunities to your business is real.

If your goal is to enhance user experience, then Augmented Reality (AR) experience created should be straightforward and easy to use.

More than anything, Augmented Reality is designed to make customers feel like they can trust in your business and products, just like their offline shopping experience always provides.

It is better to implement an Augmented Reality in eCommerce now, rather than to regret it later, while you watch your competition take the next tech step down the road and leave you behind!