Is Augmented Reality the New Reality of the Ecommerce Marketplace?

“What I ordered vs. what I got”

“How come it doesn’t fit? It looked better on the mannequin”

If you are very conversant with the online marketplace, then these statements won’t be new to you.  

One of the biggest challenges with online shopping is that customers don’t get to touch, feel or even to an extent see the products they purchase as compared to when shopping in a brick-and-mortar environment.

Would you make better purchase decisions and even shop more, if you can virtually try out a cloth, see if a lipstick matches your face tone, try out a shoe, place a couch in your living room to see how well it matches your curtain and how perfectly it fits into your space?

I’m sure you’d answer YES!

The good news is that all these and more are now made possible with augmented reality.

Augmented reality is bridging the gap between the online marketplace and the brick-and-mortars. Enabling shoppers to interact with products just as they would in the physical stores.

What Is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is the modification of a real-life environment by the addition of sound, visual elements, or other sensory stimuli.

Forget all the vocabularies above, AR is simpler than you think.

If you’ve ever used Snapchat or Instagram stories, then you understand perfectly what AR is. In a Snapchat context, your face is the real-life object that is being modified. You can’t touch or feel the filters, yet they modify your face. This is exactly what AR does. It provides shoppers with the opportunity to virtually try on products and also preview placement right from the comfort of their homes. 

Contrary to what most people think, AR is not one of the new kids on the block, it’s not a modern technology, the first AR technology was developed in 1968 at Harvard by a computer scientist, Ivan Sutherland.

You stand to gain a lot of benefits if you integrate AR into your retail. 

Some Augmented Reality in Ecommerce Statistics

How Can You Use Augmented Reality in Your Ecommerce Business?

From the statistics above, it is clear that AR is not a fail-proof technology, and it is taking over the eCommerce marketplace. Below are various ways you can use AR, and improve your customers’ shopping experience.

1. Virtual try-on solutions.

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Virtual try-on solutions will help to reduce to an extent the cases of  “What I ordered vs. what I got”. It provides your customers with the opportunity to virtually try on products before they make purchases. Which will also reduce your return rate. 

Do you know that at least 30% of all products ordered online are returned, as compared to 8.89% in brick-and-mortar stores?

One can tell that the difference in the rates is because unlike in the physical stores, customers are not able to touch, touch and also try on products.

 Google found that 6 in 10 people “say they want to be able to visualize where and how a product could fit in their lives”.

The biggest factor that interferes with customers’ purchase decisions is the fear of not getting what they ordered. 

 Virtual try-on solutions will provide more information than a 2D image would ever provide, and also reduce your rate of return.

Nike launched its first virtual sneaker try on in 2021, which allows shoppers to virtually try on sneakers in three different colours. Aside from the colours, the customers are also able to get their perfect size. This will not only help customers make perfect purchase decisions but also reduce the return rate.

With a virtual try-on solution, shopping is fun!

2. Preview placement. 

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AR enables customers to view and also place products in their spaces before they make purchases.  

“Will the flower vase fit on the table?”, “What will the couch look like in my living room?” 

Customers usually have concerns, as to if an item will fit well into their spaces, luckily with preview placement, the type of questions above can be satisfactorily answered.

Preview placement provides a shopping experience that even the physical stores don’t provide. Because even in brick-and-mortars, customers are not allowed to go away with products just to see how it looks in their environment.

Brands like IKEA have integrated AR and their customers can now virtually place furniture from sofas and lamps to rugs and tables in their spaces, and see how it fits before making the purchase. 

With preview placement, shopping has been made easy. 

3. Using social media filters.

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If you are a regular user of Snapchat, there are chances that you’ve used a branded filter at one point or the other. Brands like Starbucks, Target, and Mcdonald’s are now using Snapchat’s branded filters.

Aside from the fun part, this is also a way to create brand awareness and promote new products.

Benefits of Augmented Reality in eCommerce.

1. Customers will spend longer time shopping.

AR brings life into products. It’s interesting how customers can virtually wear a Rolex wristwatch, try on clothes, glasses, shoes and even place products in their environment to see how it looks. Customers tend to spend more time shopping on sites that integrate AR. Shopping becomes fun, and even if the customer doesn’t buy at the first visit, you can be sure they’ll return. 

2. Higher organic traffic

The use of AR will lead to more organic traffic. AR is the talk of the town, it’s only normal that people will want to try out what everyone’s talking about.

3. Increase in conversion rate. 

AR provides information much more than a 2D picture would ever provide, bridging the gap between the physical store and the online store. This information helps customers make better purchase decisions. 

When the fear of not getting what is ordered is eliminated, there will be an increase in the conversion rate.

4. Reduction in rate of return. 

With AR, it is less likely that customers will receive a product and be disappointed. This will reduce the rate of return. 

Final words.

Augmented reality is not a technology that is too technical to handle. Customers can enjoy AR with the simplest gadget. With over 810 million active mobile users, the use of AR can only progress. 

Augmented reality has been around since 1968, it’s not going anywhere, and you don’t want to be left behind.  Hop on board now.

What’s more? It’s a win-win situation for both customers and sellers. Your customers get to enjoy a better shopping experience while you make more money.

Will augmented reality be the new reality of your eCommerce marketplace?

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