How often do you order a piece of furniture online, only to realize you hate it once it arrives? It’s one of the many frustrations that come with online shopping – but thanks to AR in retail, you won’t have to be frustrated for much longer.
The concept of Augmented reality shopping is already gaining popularity among some of the biggest eCommerce brands to offer customers an immersive experience with products before they purchase them. L'Oréal has enabled customers to view makeup products on their face through their smartphone cameras. Similarly, IKEA lets you virtually place items in your living room or office space. These are some of the prominent examples of Augmented reality in eCommerce and retail.
Moving further, more brands are catching onto the trend – and for good reason. A joint study from Snap and Deloitte Digital suggested that by 2025, 75% of the world's population, including almost everyone with a smartphone, will be frequent AR users.
But what will we be using it for? Will it remain a predominant try-before-you-buy tool adding more AR examples in retail, or are there other exciting use cases to expect? Let’s explore a little further.
What is Augmented Reality (AR)?
This year's holiday season is sure to be stuffed full of AR marketing, given the success of recent examples like Vogue's Cannes experience. The exhibition, which featured pieces from Dior, Gucci, and many other iconic fashion names, used an AR lens from Snapchat to let visitors see how each of the garments would look on them. AR in the retail market. The exhibition, which featured pieces from Dior, Gucci, and many other iconic fashion names, used an AR lens from Snapchat to let visitors see how each of the garments would look on them.
But before we get into where AR in retail and eCommerce is going next, it’s useful to understand the basics. Allow us to backtrack for a moment.
AR is a technology that superimposes computer-generated images on top of your view of the real world, thus providing you with information that would otherwise not be available.
Snapchat’s facial filters are a great example of this, and their app was certainly a front-runner in AR tech. Apps like WAM (World Around Me) act as a virtual tour guide, overlaying information and digital signs onto your camera to guide you through travel destinations with ease. These are some more important examples of Augmented reality’s real life applications.
In each case, information is being added to the shoppers’ view of reality, helping them make a decision or learn something new. With 80% of the world's population using smartphones, the application of this added data and experience is endless and is set to bring out even more use cases and examples of Augmented reality.
Benefits of Augmented Reality in Retail
Brands have quickly begun to understand how AR can give potential customers a new way to engage with their products.
These kinds of integrations can provide benefits like:
- Allowing potential customers to engage with your product in a new way
- Helping to increase conversion rates by giving customers more confidence in their purchases
- Reducing returns by giving people a better idea of what they're buying
- Generating buzz and excitement around a new product launch
Nearly every big e-commerce brand in the world is using or developing some sort of AR solution, as they try to reach the next generation of tech-savvy consumers. Some popular examples of augmented reality have been highlighted throughout this blog.
How AR changed the ecommerce experience
Every business may not be able to develop and implement an AR commerce product similar to the existing examples of Augmented reality applications like L'Oreal and IKEA.
Thousands of small businesses needed to quickly adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic by finding an affordable and accessible AR tool for eCommerce and ramping up their online platforms.
Fortunately, the market has come a long way now. There are now many AR platforms that have specifically been designed with smaller businesses in mind. These eCommerce tools allow users to quickly create product try-ons, view-in-space experiences, and other augmented reality features without a large upfront investment.
And while it may seem like a novel way to sell products, augmented reality in eCommerce is rewarding, and thus, many examples of Augmented reality in retail exist. Let’s take a look at some of the ways AR in retail can enhance shoppers’ online shopping experience.
Examples of Augmented Reality Applications and Advantages
Have you ever wished you could bring that chair home just to see if it would look good beside the couch? One of the important advantages of augmented reality in retail is how it elevates the product evaluation experience.
Augmented reality allows customers to see how products would look and fit in their personal spaces before making a purchase. Customers can view an accurate 3D representation of the product, change the color or material, and evaluate how it would fit in with the rest of their décor.
This is an incredibly powerful tool for selling furniture, home décor, and even clothing. It gives customers the confidence they need to make a purchase.
In days past, homeowners had to just believe that the contractor was making the right decisions for their home projects. They could see the cabinetry in a showroom and hold up a few tiles to see if they think it will match, but it was all based on guesswork.
With AR, you can take the guesswork out of home projects and have complete confidence that you’re making the right choices.
Another example of augmented reality revolves around planning kitchen renovations. To ensure that the cabinets you choose will fit in the space, and the countertops will go well with the backsplash.
With AR, you can use your phone camera to see how everything will look before you commit to anything. You can change the colors and materials of each element to see what looks best. This is a huge time-saver, and it can help you avoid costly mistakes.
Product out of stock, or the floor doesn’t have the model you were hoping for? Just hold up your phone and check out the entire catalog right in front of your eyes. This is one of the examples of augmented reality which is the opposite of the buy online, pick-up in-store method that has become so prevalent at places like electronics retailers.
You can place your order and pay at the store, while the out-of-stock product will be shipped directly to your home. Never run out of shelf space again, thanks to the help of augmented reality.
The teenager working the register might not know that much about the product you are after. However, with a quick scan, all the detailed information can be at your fingertips, helping you build confidence in the purchase while browsing the aisles.
The advent of hologram-based sales assistants is another advantage and yet another example of augmented reality, offering retailers the chance to have an endless amount of staff on hand to help customers immediately.
Augmented reality can help brick-and-mortar retailers convert sales by offering improved in-store experiences, which leverage the eCommerce inventory chain.
Walk into an online shopping space, start grabbing items from around you, add to your cart, or take other actions. A showroom no longer has to have a book of wallpaper patterns. With AR, you can see everything the merchant has to offer with just a few taps.
In terms of augmented reality, the future has already arrived; it’s just not exactly like the movies predicted.
Currently, we have sleek, unobtrusive smartphone apps that use your camera to show you what products would look like in your home before you buy them. Wearables will take the consumer experience to the next level breaking away from 2D screens.
With Avataar’s out-of-the-box solution retailers can quickly convert their 2D product catalog to 3D for use in AR. The 3D AR experience will link to the e-commerce store’s product pages to provide an immersive experience for customers looking to buy online, leading to greater engagement, bigger cart sizes, and more revenue.