Augmented Reality and its Influence on E-commerce
Technology is always changing the way people view different things around the globe. And when it comes to shopping, no one can deny that the tech in the e-commerce industry is impacting the way consumers and suppliers interact.
Augmented Reality is a technology that has taken the globe to a whole new level. It has revolutionised the way people interact with others and with the world at large. And now it is being used in online retailing to bring a physical presence in the industry.
In other words, AR is converting online store into a physical form. It is a way of making the thing seem as though they are there when there is nothing at all.
Retailers are using AR to create an engaging experience for those who love getting their stuff from online sources. Consumers can now get ad more personal and engaging experience when they are buying items online. The way you shop will never remain the same again.
How does AR bring reality to online shopping?
Consider this, when you are buying a sofa or a table, you always try to see how the item will fit in your house. Sometimes people even carry the items physically to try in their own homes. It is all about finding that perfect item.
How about when buying the sofa online? How would you know the shape of the sofa that will fit well in your living room? How do you find the perfect color to match the curtains and other items in the room? You have to draw the picture in your mind trying on different things, all in your head. Visualization of different color schemes, texture and settings is not very easy.
You will face a lot of challenges before getting the perfect fit. And in the end, whatever you get will not be what you may have expected.
But what if you don’t have to imagine it? What if you can try the product at home by yourself before buying it online?
Well, that is what augmented reality brings up. It helps you taste the sofa in your space before making your decision. You can try many different sofas with different colors all from the comfort of your house. How cool is that!
Adoption of AR by E-commerce platforms and consumers
As of today, there are more than 100,000 e-commerce sites on the internet. Retailers can establish their shops on leading platforms like Amazon, Alibaba, and Shopify among others.
The world continues to drift towards a digital era, which makes sense that the e-commerce field continues to expand. For an average person, e-commerce can be the best way to experience buying their items easily.
And now with the introduction of AR, the experience has just been elevated. Online shopping is going to be more compelling and more productive.
According to Statista, global e-commerce sales will have grown by 246.15% by the start of 2021 since 2014. Then, the industry was worth $1.3 trillion, but it will rise to $4.5 trillion, more than three times growth in online revenue.
Major players in the industry like Alibaba have implemented AR as part of offering the best services to their customers. The company has announced using Virtual Reality alongside Augmented Reality to make the online customer experience even better.
Many customers and retailers are now finding AR a necessity in e-commerce. They prefer when AR is being used to where it is not. 74% of modern consumers say they expect retailers of offer them services with AR.
A study by Golfsmith indicates there is a 30% conversion rates amongst products appearing in 3D. This has translated to a 263% upscale rise in online sales since VR was integrated.
How augmented reality is shaping e-commerce
The reason why physical shops are still thriving is that the buyer can see and try the item before buying. This is something you could not say about online shopping.
But augmented reality is changing all that. It seeks to solve the one problem that has been the main point of concern all this while – consumers can see the product first.
In simple terms, you can carry the item you want to buy directly into your living room virtually. If it is a bed you want to get to your bedroom, you can tell if it will fit. Before you buy the bed, you will have found the right color, the right shape and even the right type of the bed.
Why is AR going to be very popular in e-commerce?
AR is one of the opportunities an e-commerce platform cannot miss out on. It will be even more popular because of its psychological impact on human beings as shown below.
- It makes one feel more attached to the items. AR is a way through which users interact with digital information representing a physical object. The user may already own the object or comfortable with it; this makes sense of ownership to grow around the liking of AR. As the adoption process continues to manifest, this technology will become more personal than any other in the industry.
- Users can become part of a story. Through dealing with AR, users will be pulled into the story built around the product, making it part of them as they are part of the technology. No other marketing strategy will make the user feel like they belong to something great.
- New technology attracts. AR is a new technology, which every user would like to try. The novelty of indulging in an amalgamation or real and virtual attracts users very much.
AR is a technology that directly touches the core human experience. For this reason, it qualifies as the most revolutionary technology. This is more than what you can say about most innovations that only drive incremental improvements.
To better understand what this technology can do regarding superimposing digital information on a physical platform, we need to look at the issues it solves. Let us consider the following items that make it all count.
You don’t struggle with return policies
We have seen many situations when customers have bought items from online stores only to find that they don’t like it. Online stores luckily have come up with return policies where customers can take back the item.
But that takes time, and it is quite costly. After an ordering an item online, one has to wait for a while before receiving the item. So it does not make sense that one has to wait long before his order is shipped and sending back takes the same amount of time.
AR takes you to the shop virtually. You can sort out the items as long many times as you want and make the right decision. The best part of shopping online is that you are exposed to a wide range of retail stores and products.
Fathead reports that they have witnesses a 50% return rate on their products since introducing AR. A lower rate of product spinning is all an e-commerce company needs.
You can now pick the product and pay for it only when you are sure. This is useful not only to the customer but to the store as well. E-commerce stores have had to lose a lot of shipping items to and back from the customers.
Get an accurate measurement of the item according to your space
With AR, you can measure your floor directly to get a quote for your spaces. For the best interior designs, one has to make sure every inch of the room is well utilized. But you cannot get the right item to fit in the room while buying it online.
Take for instance buying a new bed; you need to make sure the space to have will hold the bed and leave enough room for other things. AR allows you to measure the room and make the order according to the measurements. This prevents homeowners from buying stuff that takes up too much space.
See the product from the comfort of your home
At the physical shop, you can view and touch the product to measure the quality. You can even measure your room and carry the measurements with you.
AR allows you to bring this feature into online shopping. You can use the image of the item and visualize it right in your home and the place you want it to appear. It is even better than physical shopping because here, you can transfer the item to your room virtually without incurring any costs. It gives you the opportunity to try to design your room perfect before buying the items needed. For instance:
- Digitally preview a vase on the table before you buy
- You are looking for a good vase that will sit on your table perfectly. Instead of buying several vases, trying and perhaps throwing them out, you can preview different vases on the table before picking out one that is right.
- Try out a window where there is none
- Perhaps you feel like your home is a bit dark and needs a little bit of more natural light. In this case, an extra window will do the trick. But you don’t know how the window will look like where you want it. Use VR to try out different spots until you have the perfect location. This is the best way to save on time as well as cash.
- Want a new TV? Check out the right size first
If you are tired of your old television, a new one might help you out. But it will not make sense if the new TV does not fit well in your living room. Instead of guessing the right size and type of the TV fit for your space, use augmented reality to get the right features.
AR takes the product from the shop directly into your space. If it is a dining table you want to try out, get one that fits your family without taking up too much space.
With these features and usability, there is no denying that AR is the future of e-commerce. It is bringing reality into the virtual space of shoppers. The experience it brings cannot be compared to any other technology.
Is AR easy to implement in workshops with AR Quicklook and WebAR?
Online shopping is all about being comfortable with compatible devices. For those with iOS devices and computers, things are about to get even more accessible with augmented reality.
Now you don’t have to download specific apps to shop in AR. AR Quicklook is an iOS feature that allows previewing of products directly in AR when using Safari search engine. This feature was demonstrated by Shopify in 2017 and will further improve the way consumers shop.
Using the iOS 12’s AR Quick Look, one can upload 3D models of the products they want to purchase and view them in AR with Safari. It solves another problem of the right App for AR, making it even easier for users.
Google developers have also tried to solve the same issue when using AR. The WebXR device API for AR and VR was announced recently in Chrome 67. WebXR allows the placement and tracking of objects in AR using Chrome. It is a new method for placing objects in the real world.
Examples of AR in e-commerce
- In 2013, IKEA, a company known well in technology and e-commerce launched an AR app. This app helps the customer visualize how furniture they buy will physically appear in their space. All you need is a Smartphone with a good camera.
- Kabaq food commerce app helps increase engagement with customers using AR. You can view what is on the menu and order online. If you wanted to see the actual serving size, this is the app to use.
- If you are looking to sell or buy vintage furniture and art among other things, Chairish is the home décor app to apply. It uses AR to bring out the best home décor by showing exactly how something would look.
Augmented Reality is the future of online shopping. It has already proved to increase engagement between shoppers and shops. It is already bringing traffic for major players in the industries. Consumers’ expectations keep evolving, and that is why AR is an important part of e-commerce shops.