Virtual reality and augmented reality are two technologies that are rapidly changing how we experience the world around us.
From offering an immersive gaming experience to incorporating 3D and AR shopping experiences into ecommerce stores, AR and VR are setting new standards.
However, even with respective AR and VR applications and benefits, ecommerce businesses may require to pick favorites.
This blog highlights the augmented reality vs. virtual reality debate in brief.
Augmented Reality Vs. Virtual Reality: Differences and Similarities
While both AR and VR help present different objects in a certain visual manner, they have their differences and similarities. Let us look at the overlapping aspects of AR and VR and what sets them apart. But first, let’s take a look at their respective definitions:
Augmented Reality: Augmented reality (a.k.a. AR technology) lets users add images of 3D digital images of different objects into their real time spaces. For example, a 3D visual of the object in the image below is placed into the real-world view of the user.
This allows users to view products from different angles and evaluate them in their personal spaces before making a purchase.
Virtual reality: “Virtual reality offers the computer generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with, in a real or physical way, by the person using suitable electronic equipment.”
Its recent primary applications include entertainment, education, and business. For example, in the picture below, a virtual view of different mobile applications and websites is displayed. Similarly, VR games offer players an immersive experience.
Similarities Between AR and VR
Differences Between AR and VR
Augmented Reality Applications in ecommerce
By incorporating augmented reality into an ecommerce store, businesses can reap the following benefits:
1. Revolutionizing Shopping
The furniture in a house or office not only offers comfort but also reflects personality. However, offline furniture shopping can be extremely tiring, and conventional online shopping may result in expectation or perception differences, causing multiple two-and-fros and returns.
Augmented reality comes to save the day here.
AR allows consumers to place life-size 3D visuals of their favorite furniture in their personal spaces, as described visually under the definition section. This gives them a clear idea of how a product may look and feel in their living room, office cabin, or bedroom, which can minimize their doubt, and maximize their confidence.
2. Immersive (as per need) User Experience
While VR offers a fully immersive shopping experience to its users, AR offers an experience which is not only immersive but also customized according to their personal spaces.
For example, VR may make users walk into a virtual shopping mall and check products, but not in the spaces where they’ll be using it.
AR overcomes this concern by allowing users to place their favorite products in their personal spaces.
So, the users can view their favorite products in their personal spaces and decide whether or not they want to make the purchase.
AR is not just immersive, it’s contextually immersive and gives users what’s best for them. This makes AR more suitable for ecommerce platforms.
3. Boost Sales and Revenue
One primary reason customers may often leave products in their wish lists or online shopping carts is their lack of confidence (as discussed in the VR section).
While virtual reality allows users to hand-pick and view products, augmented reality allows shoppers to evaluate how a product will look, feel and fit in their personal spaces.
This advanced product viewing experience helps users feel more confident while buying a product and can help them make a correct purchase decision.
As a result, the cart abandonment rate in ecommerce stores can be brought down while boosting sales numbers.
4. Fewer Returns
Every year, ecommerce businesses incur billions of dollars in losses due to product returns and return fraud. Smartly planned AR-based ecommerce stores can help users make informed, correct purchase decisions in the first go, significantly reducing the return rates.
5. No Upfront Costs, Easy To Set Up
Setting up AR with Avataar requires no upfront payments, no additional equipment, and can function optimally even on an entry level smartphone. Thus, it is more easily accessible by the end-customers.
Also, the setup costs for AR are affordable. For details, check out Avataar’s offer. We are offering Single Click Solutions with 10 free 3D/AR visuals.
Virtual Reality Applications in ecommerce
Incorporating VR into your ecommerce store can have the following benefits:
1. Can be A Memorable Experience if the Users have Equipment
When most online stores are functioning with 2D images, allowing your users to virtually step into your online store and buy products from there will certainly make their shopping experience memorable and one of a kind.
However, it’s important to note that VR requires specific equipment, which costs additional.
2. Great for Gaming and Entertainment Marketing
A VR ecommerce store can offer users an unmatched gaming experience that they may want to discuss with their friends and relatives.
In most cases, VR may help optimize your entertainment marketing campaigns. This may also help your business gain popularity through word of mouth.
3. Attractive Ideas
An easy-to-use and functional VR-based ecommerce store can be a remarkable experience for many consumers. This could help attract quality leads.
Plus, as a result of this completely immersive VR shopping experience, more of your users may remember your store and its products and want to keep coming back.
4. Comes at a High Premium
By stepping into a virtual ecommerce store, customers may get the chance to virtually pick a product, take a quick look at it, read details, and make an informed purchase.
However, in the best cases, VR requires high installation costs, upfront payments, can be difficult to set up, and expects the users to purchase additional equipment. These roadblocks may make applications less enjoyable, and more technical.
Comparing AR vs. VR in Context to ecommerce Applications
As discussed in the sections above, both AR and VR can offer numerous advantages to ecommerce businesses. However, the debate is yet to conclude the better of the two technologies.
What VR Offers
When we talk about virtual reality, we know that the experience is literally going to be “out of the world.” VR in ecommerce puts users into a virtual store, where they may take a walk, or teleport to the store’s other sections, virtually view and pick products, fetch their details, and make a purchase.
This is a revolutionary idea and may hold the potential to entirely transform the way we shop. However, at this point, VR in ecommerce may disconnect the user from the real world, often limiting their ability to understand how a product may look and feel after the purchase.
On the other hand, augmented reality in ecommerce does not virtually teleport users into a nascent reality, nor does it make them walk into a virtual mall or store. However, it enables users to view their favorite products in their personal spaces, which practically helps them decide whether they like a specific product or not.
This makes purchase decisions easier and smarter, can help reduce return rates, boost conversions for ecommerce businesses, and does not require the paraphernalia of a VR setup.
Considering VR and AR’s respective applications, it’s safe to say that Augmented reality in ecommerce can help businesses offer users a more valuable and relevant shopping experience. And thus, in the present day, it may be the best choice for ecommerce businesses looking to upgrade their online stores.
However, the final decision will also depend on a business's specific requirements, goals, and expectations from these technologies.
Both AR and VR have advantages and shortcomings concerning online stores, but, in the present day and age, AR is more relevant and a practical choice for ecommerce businesses.
In this blog, we discussed AR vs. VR’s ecommerce applications in detail. Hopefully, this was helpful. For more details about AR, and how to incorporate it into your ecommerce business, connect with us, and we’ll be happy to make it happen.