Technology and the pandemic are two of the major factors that have contributed to the change in user behaviour and consumer habits in recent years.
The way of shopping, new channels and customer needs are evolving very fast. In fact, achieving conversion and even improving engagement is becoming increasingly difficult for companies.
We are talking about the rise of e-commerce as a result of the change in mentality and behaviour associated with Covid-19 and technological improvements in online shopping. This is the great challenge of surprising the consumer, satisfying their demand and offering them the best possible experience in the purchasing process.
According to a global Nielsen report, 64% of people surveyed say that their lives are getting busier and more complicated every day. This is why they rely on technology as an enabler and solver of processes, such as shopping.
In relation to the use of technological improvements for online shopping, 51% say they use augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to evaluate products, if the brand offers this option.
Therefore, we can affirm that augmented reality is reinventing e-commerce and improving the customer shopping experience, making it more immersive and real. Moreover, AR also boosts sales and brand engagement.
Benefits of augmented reality in eCommerce
Including AR as an integral part of the business strategy means giving the customer the possibility of not having to go to the physical shop to see the product for real. In addition, they can also try it out in their own environment and find out what it would be like to buy it. In other words, it is about offering a unique shopping experience to the user that he has never had before.
As a result, the benefits offered by augmented reality online shopping are growing every day. As a result, more and more brands want to include it in their online shopping processes.
In fact, according to a study by Publicis Media, Alter Agents and Snap, web AR in e-commerce is set to grow exponentially over the next five years.
Reduces purchase decision and increases conversion rate
The possibility of seeing an item in real and immersive form prior to purchase eliminates the uncertainty factor that arises in online shopping. This means that sales increase because customers feel more confident when buying. On the other hand, returns are reduced because users “have already tried it”. According to Marketing Dive, web AR products increase the conversion rate of online purchases by almost 30%.
AR makes it possible to see the product or article in 3D in any space or environment. In this way, the purchase decision process is also reduced. Based on a study by the American marketing consultancy Invesp, 45% of customers said that web AR functions save them time when making a purchase decision.
According to this data, ecommerce retailers are prioritising this functionality on their websites. In fact, Retail Costumer Experience found that augmented reality engagement has increased by almost 20% since the beginning of 2020, when the pandemic began. This means that more and more companies are integrating AR into their lines of business to offer a better user experience than their competitors.
Attract more customers
When a consumer or potential customer wants to buy a product, they usually consider several options, unless they are totally loyal to a brand. In this online search process, a user will become a customer of the brand that offers the most advantages and facilities. In this sense, if a company offers the possibility of seeing the real product, interacting with it and knowing what it would be like to have it, it has won many points.
The doubts that arise with proportions, scale, size and style, among other factors, can simply disappear with the mobile phone camera. Going back to the Invesp report, the firm found that 77% of customers prefer to shop with an augmented reality experience to get a detailed view of the product and check its actual measurements and styling.
Improve brand engagement
Offering a unique user experience, influencing the buying process in a positive way and making life easier for the customer translates into customer loyalty.
When a user feels comfortable shopping and the brand is able to satisfy their needs and resolve any doubts, he will want to come back and will also be a promoter because he will recommend that interactive experience. This means that it increases engagement and improves the Net Promoter Score (NPS). In fact, more than 60% of customers globally say that the web AR improves their purchasing process and experience.
For this reason, today there are many brands that stand out for including web AR in their online shopping process. Examples of augmented reality in ecommerce include Ikea, Amazon and even Shopify, which has this option when creating an ecommerce site.
Augmented reality in ecommerce applications
Gartner claimed in 2019 that by 2020 alone there would be more than 100 million consumers shopping with augmented reality, both in physical shops and in e-commerce. So, looking at these statistics and taking into account the exponential trend of this new shopping model, we can affirm that there is a growing demand for real and immersive experiences. Moreover, customers need these experiences to facilitate their shopping processes, as well as their fast-paced lives.
Brands and retailers can offer customers different web AR tools such as augmented reality product catalog, interactive manuals or even a 3D virtual fitting room.
Web AR product catalog
The AR product catalogue allows you to view items in 3D, providing a real preview of each item.
At Onirix, creating an augmented reality ecommerce experience is really easy. In addition, the user can see the experience immediately without the need to download any app and slow down the decision process. Let’s look at an example of a product catalog:
This video shows an experience of an online trainers shop where the user, through an image with a QR code, can see the products in 3D. In addition, he can read the associated information and even add the item to the cart.
3D virtual fitting room
This is a more complex functionality that allows the user to virtually “try on” the product before purchasing and physically having it.
Through a device’s camera and thanks to facial or body recognition technology, anyone can try on an item, from jewellery, clothes, shoes and even make-up. On the other hand, there is also the option of trying on items in a 3D space. In this sense, the user can “put”, for example, a piece of furniture in the living room, and see how it looks and if the proportions and scale are appropriate. This option can also be used to see any product in real life and check its characteristics or size.
It is also important to offer customers a good after-sales service, so an interesting option is to include a good instruction manual, tips or important information with the products. Here, augmented reality can offer the customer an interactive experience and improve or facilitate the installation or maintenance part. This is the case of interactive manuals, which can consolidate the relationship with the brand and their commitment to it, due to the satisfactory purchase experience.
In short, these web AR applications are really positive for the customer and, therefore, also for ecommerce companies. Retail Consumer Experience found in 2020 that ecommerce that offered web AR experiences had 21% more revenue per visit.