The benefits of augmented reality for e-commerce

ten uses of augmented reality

David Long
1st April 2023

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that combines digital elements with the physical world on devices such as smartphones and smart glasses. In e-commerce, AR helps consumers explore and try out products online without visiting a store. Mixed reality (MR) is an extended version of AR that incorporates aspects of both AR and virtual reality (VR). MR devices can detect the physical environment as planes or 3D objects using the device camera or sensors which allows digital and physical elements to interact.

Augmented reality benefits consumers

One of the drawbacks of online shopping is the lack of touch and interaction, making it difficult to judge the quality and suitability of an item. AR and 3D technologies aim to narrow the gap between the online and in-store shopping experience, making it possible for consumers to visualize and interact with items online.

Brands using AR make it possible for customers to visualize and interact with their products in real-world locations using a smartphone. This allows a customer to see if a table matches the existing furnishings or if a microwave looks good and fits in a particular place in the kitchen. AR apps can also feature personalization so that a customer can try out various product variations. The Ikea Place app can be used by customers to see how furniture looks and fits in their home before buying.

Web AR technology makes augmented reality more accessible and convenient for consumers shopping online. There are no apps to install or load, simply click a button on a web page and an item can be viewed in AR.

73% of consumers are interested in visualizing products in AR before buying.1

Virtual try-on applications are becoming increasingly popular for products such as glasses, shoes, and makeup. An example is L'Oreal Modiface technology which lets consumers try makeup, hair colors, and nail products before buying. Many AR apps run in the browser and the app can be conveniently launched from a web page. Using Vyking AR technology, customers can virtually try on a pair of shoes with their smartphone.

Augmented reality benefits brands

Consumer reports such as the Snap Global Consumer AR Report demonstrate that AR has significant benefits for brands. Online marketing campaigns with fun and engaging AR filters are being used to improve brand recognition and acquire more customers.

Brands are 41% more likely to be considered if they have a branded AR experience.1

A recent Meta Foresight study found that Facebook advertising campaigns that used AR filters outperformed those without, and with lower costs. AR Filters are highly engaging social media versions of AR that can generate millions of impressions, making them an ideal way to raise brand awareness and get more customers. They're easy to create and there is a large number to choose from, ranging from face filters to virtual try-on apps.

Brands that use AR experiences have higher conversion rates and fewer returns. Consumers that are able to try out or try on a product have more confidence to buy it.

Interacting with products that have AR experiences leads to a 94% higher conversion rate.1

In the US in 2020 returns amounted to an estimated $428 billion. This was due in part to an increase in people shopping online during the pandemic. Reduced margins due to high competition make returns a significant pain point for many retailers. Product visualization and AR apps are helping consumers make more informed and better purchasing choices, giving rise to fewer returns.

Adding AR to your website with a B2B service

B2B services provide immersive technologies that can be integrated with your website, from 3D viewers with AR to virtual try-on applications. These services provide a complete cloud solution for managing and adding and displaying 3D and AR content on your website.

Integration is straightforward for most websites and involves adding a provided HTML iframe tag to a webpage. Additionally, there may be some basic development work needed on the client or server side.

A 3D viewer is the best solution for companies wanting a lower-cost alternative to custom AR web and mobile application development. It also has the benefit of having a range of other features, including interactive 3D, product personalization, animations, and VR.

1. Snap AR Consumer Global Report by Deloitte

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