Consumers in every industry often foster emotional connections with brands via tangible experiences they gain through their five senses.
From simply being able to stroll around a brick-and-motor store to having additional forms of sensory product experiences, the physical environment innately offers clients an immersive experience that’s hard to beat.
That said, with advancements in technology and evolving trends in the global e-commerce space, customer experiences are evolving as well. Since delivering physical product experiences is impossible for most e-commerce spaces, retailers worldwide have started looking beyond standard procedures to be able to immerse their customers in full brand experiences.
That’s where augmented reality (AR) for e-commerce comes into play. Promising online shoppers immersive, round-the-clock personalized experiences, AR technologies have proven to be a big deal as we transition into the next era of e-commerce.
What is Augmented Reality?
Most people associate augmented reality with its watershed moment, which was the Pokemon Go phenomenon in 2016. Just in case you do not recall, it was a game played outside, where players ran around searching for little animated creatures they could only see through their phones.
By definition, AR, or augmented reality are technologies that can enhance the perception of real-world environments by using computer-generated perpetual information. These enhancements of real-world environments are usually through multiple sensory modalities, including haptic, auditory, visual, etc.
How Augmented Reality is Helping Boost Online Shopping
So, does it make sense for the e-Commerce industry to adopt this new kid in the marketing arena? These 3 points show that it does.
1. Unique and Memorable Experiences Lead to Sales
According to BigCommerce, 96 percent of Americans have made at least a single purchase online in their life and 51 percent favor online shopping over physical, brick-and-motor stores.
To lure the remaining 49 percent and keep the existing 51 percent glued to their websites and coming back for more, retailers started looking for ways to provide personal and unique experiences. It doesn’t get more personal or unique than trying products in a store through augmented reality.
Instead of limiting clients to a finite number of videos and photos, AR has allowed immersive interactions with products that have already proven profitable. Shopify, for instance, found that products advertised with AR in Shopify AR saw 94 percent higher conversion rates than products without similar content.
2. Reduced Return Rates
According to a different survey carried out by Adobe, 54 percent of retailers reported that customer experience was the most important area of focus. Of that 54 percent, 33 percent said that “personalization and targeting” were in their top five marketing priorities, with AR becoming their tool of choice for personalization tactics.
Thanks to AR, online shoppers can visualize wall colors and furniture designs while standing in their own homes. This, in turn, let’s these customers interact, experience, and try on the product as if they already owned them. This interactive, personalized experienced can only be topped by one physically handling the merchandise.
The simple act of integrating AR apps that allow clients to visualize themselves owning the products eliminates their doubts, significantly reducing the number of returns.
3. More Customers Want AR Experiences
It seems AR continues to make headlines and heads turn in the e-Commerce space as it did in the gaming industry. And it makes sense: imagine watching products magically appear and disappear in a smartphone app as they would in your real home.
According to Snapchat report, 94 percent of consumers say they prefer retailers whose sites offer the timeless, boosted, and spaceless shopping experience offered by AR. And since AR is expected to become the shopping gold standard soon, you can expect the remaining 39 percent to fall in line.
Today, services like Zolak allow for simplified ways to add AR experiences to e-Commerce environments. Zolak helps enable AR sales personalization primarily in the furniture manufacturing sector.
In other spaces, open-source e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce and Magento help achieve the same through easy-to-use plugins.