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September 13, 2023

| 5 mins read

Augmented Reality in E-commerce Business: Trends, Benefits, and Beyond

Augmented Reality in E-commerce Business: Trends, Benefits, and Beyond

Since its inception, e-commerce has made significant moves to boost customer experience and bring more buyers into the fence. As people flock to the digital space, global retail e-commerce sales will grow nearly 11% during 2023-2027.

Still, e-commerce lags behind traditional shopping in one area – the ability to engage with products in real before the purchase. As such, retailers are feeling the urge to become technologically advanced, especially in the ever-evolving retail landscape.

That is why, augmented reality (AR) in business has entered the picture to eliminate the limitation. The immersive technology enables brands to effectively engage customers, a particularly compelling advantage in times when attention spans are at an all-time low.

Read on to learn the benefits of augmented reality in e-commerce and the trends pushing the change.

The Benefits of AR Shopping

According to a report, 4 out of 5 brands have witnessed improved sales, customer acquisition, and performance metrics after deploying AR. E-commerce will enjoy the following after integrating augmented reality platforms into their operations.

Minimal Product Returns

An old complaint customers have while shopping online is that they cannot see the product on a full scale. Consequently, they have to return the product due to display, size, or fitting issues. Augmented reality in e-commerce enables buyers to analyze products based on their needs and thus make context-aware decisions. Additionally, they can preview how the product would look within their physical spaces, thereby reducing returns significantly.

Reduced Window Shopping

Customers will more likely convert if brands offer a better picture of products. Rather than being confined to a limited number of pre-posted videos or photos, AR for e-commerce lets buyers engage longer with products in a more personalized and immersive manner. Customers can better understand how a product would look on them, often influencing them to make the right choice during that single online session.

Get Smarter with Data

While augmented reality in e-commerce does not store users’ personal information after they log out, it does offer brands crucial insights. For instance, a couch might come in five colours, but which ones are buyers seeing the most?

Online retailers can determine what options keep people most interested and then modify their inventories to ensure they meet market demands. This strengthens their credibility and relevance as they have learned what people are looking for.

AR for E-Commerce: Key Consumer Trends Driving the Transformation

Like the Internet, augmented reality in e-commerce might appear like futuristic science fiction. But in fact, brands are already using the technology to sell products. These are the top trends in AR for e-commerce.

Intuitive User Manuals for Better Customer Onboarding

While intuitive user manuals are not a relevant application of AR shopping, they will be a trend over time. This is particularly true for e-commerce businesses selling products with steep learning curves, such as cars or coffee machines.

Here is the underlying idea - customers scan the item through an AR app to activate the AR experience. Then, users get step-by-step instructions superimposed onto real-world objects or environments through a smartphone or AR glasses. They can follow these visual cues to effectively assemble, set up, or troubleshoot problems.

Preview Placement to Eliminate Incosistency

AR for e-commerce has removed the need to imagine how a product will look once purchased. Often, customers return furniture and home décor items when they do not go well with the remaining setup.

Augmented reality platforms offer buyers a live glimpse of products, their size, and how they will look once placed for real. This considerably influences their decision and enables them to choose the perfect piece for their home.

Social Media Filters

E-commerce brands can create AR filters for their products on social media platforms, including Snapchat (SnapAR Lens Studio), Facebook, and Instagram (Meta Spark). Customers can apply these social media filters - special effects, animations, or themed elements - to their photos, stories, or videos, making them more engaging and entertaining.

That way, they are not only expressing creativity and sharing fun moments with their followers but are also promoting brands. In fact, about 80% of businesses that use AR filters have improved their brand awareness.

The AI-AR Synergy

Virtual product experiences powered by artificial intelligence (AI) help e-commerce brands further improve customer engagement and simplify product searches.

Object recognition: Detects and adjusts to users’ actions and movements in real time.

Computer vision: Builds spatial maps of users’ environments to place virtual products in physical spaces accurately.

Natural language processing (NLP): Enables users to interact with AR apps using voice commands.

Predictive analytics: Analyzes user behaviour, helping merchants stay ahead of customer demand.

How Leading Brands Are Offering AR Experiences for E-Commerce Success

AR shopping is not just a passing trend; it is revolutionizing how people shop and connect with e-commerce businesses. Let’s see how leading brands have infused this innovative concept into their operations.

MirrAR

Prominent jewelry brands, including Tanishq, PC Jewellers, and Senco, use MirrAR’s augmented reality platform to enable their customers to try jewelry items no matter where they are.

Jewelry retailers can integrate the plug-and-play solution into their existing applications, platforms, or websites. Additionally, they can plug MirrAR into any web-browsing device.

Once they install the AR shopping platform, brands need to take their jewelry inventory online, which becomes accessible via the app, web, or in-store. As such, shoppers can try out jewelry pieces from either of these channels. What is more, installing MirrAR takes only 30 minutes.

Poplar Studio

Poplar Studio, in collaboration with Geenee, a WebAR company, has developed an AR try-on solution for FERONA’s couture collection. Customers can visit the revamped FERONA website to see and try out tailored couture pieces virtually, thanks to WebAR’s web-based body tracking SDK. The augmented reality platform will be fused with a custom tool that lets customers codesign a wide array of outfit combinations. 

Tech-savvy Luxury: How Retailers Embrace AR Shopping Software  

Luxury brands have to deliver unique and exclusive experiences to their customers. Hence, the urgency to deploy augmented reality in business has never been greater.

Let’s see how luxury retailers use AR shopping platforms.

Interactive Product Demos

With augmented reality platforms, luxury brands can produce intuitive product demonstrations. Case in point, a high-end jeweller can use the technology to display the making of their rings, highlighting the precision and craftsmanship behind each piece.

Besides, AR for shopping keeps salespersons from relying on outdated hefty catalogues. Instead, it creates interactive catalogues where visitors can scan product images to get additional information, videos, or 3D models. That way, they can better understand the brand's products.

Virtual Try-ons

AR helps luxury fashion and accessory brands let customers virtually try on items such as haute couture clothing, jewelry, and high-end watches. Customers can see intricate details, materials, and craftsmanship up close and thus make confident purchase decisions. Plus, they do not need to visit a physical retail store to try out luxury products.

Storytelling through Animation

AR enables luxury brands to build immersive narratives that captivate their audience. By overlaying animated content in the real world, retailers can take customers to a unique and enchanting story that is both visually appealing and emotionally engaging. This includes brand mascots, animated characters, or scenes that tell the brand's history or values in a captivating manner.

AR Shopping: The Real-time Deal of The Next Era

No doubt, we are shifting toward a much more exciting and dynamic era, thanks to augmented reality in business. For shoppers looking for immersive, personalized experiences available 24/7, AR for shopping hits the spot.

Whether virtually trying out a new lipstick shade or staging houses using couches, AR is sweeping across e-commerce. The technology is not only improving customer experience but also brands’ visibility in crowded markets, thus boosting customer engagement and loyalty, and eventually profit margins.

It is only a matter of time before AR shopping fully saturates the e-commerce realm and changes how brands market their product portfolios. So, while everybody is still learning how to leverage the technology, now is the right time to jump on the bandwagon.

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