We have all heard about augmented reality(AR), and how it has been used by various mediums like Video Games and Virtual Maps to impressive effect. Many feel that the role is limited to these fields as they see AR as just another tool for entertainment. However, when we dig a little deeper, what we find is an excellent tool for marketing; one that is engaging as well as customer friendly. These facts, however, went unnoticed for a long time until a not-so-little app known (Pokémon Go) burst onto the scene.
Pokémon Go was the first ever AR app to captivate the attention of global audiences on such a large scale. The success of this riveting app was an eye opener for several marketing professionals who saw AR as a new medium to promote their products and services.
In the aftermath of Pokémon Go, a wide array of large corporations including the likes of IKEA and Zara started to incorporate AR into their apps and platforms. This move worked wonders for these companies as they experienced a big boost in sales, all thanks to an interactive experience provided by this revolutionary technology.
Augmented Reality Vs Virtual Reality
Without any further ado, one thing that needs to be addressed is the fact that many people often get confused between the likes of augmented reality and virtual reality. Although both these terms may sound the same, their intricacies render them as 2 totally different experiences.
Augmented Reality combines both the real world as well as pre-rendered 3D models into one. Virtual reality, on the other hand, offers an experience that is 100% virtual or simulated as the name suggests.
Customer Prefer Shopping using AR
The most important aspect that is working for Augment Reality is the support from end users. According to a study by Retail Perceptions, about 40% of the customers who shop online are willing to spend on a product that offers an AR experience. Moreover, over 61% of customers prefer to shop at stores that provide AR services over their counterparts.
Such a high-affinity customer score is a testament of its real time effectiveness and application. With AR, E-commerce platforms can overcome the one thing that is always considered as the Achilles heel for brands – an immersive experience, wherein the customers get to interact with the products and services on offer.
Interestingly, of late, more and more E-commerce platforms are showing a keen interest in AR platforms and why not! That day isn’t far away when it’ll be a part of the daily jargon of customers across the globe. Here are six reasons validating this claim:
1. AR can help Customers Better Visualize their Purchases:
AR has hands down found its most widespread use in the eCommerce industry as a feature that allows customers to view different products offered by businesses as 3D models. These models can be superimposed on real-life backgrounds and as such can be used to get a feel of the product. Suppose a customer is shopping for furniture online, they like a particular décor piece but are unsure of its dimensions and aesthetics.
Thankfully, if your platform comes with an AR gallery where 3D models of all products are uploaded, customers will be able to gauge a real-life image of the showpiece with the background of their choice, with accuracy and precision. This interactive experience allows the customers to be more confident with their purchases. One important point to note here is that you will need professional ecommerce website design in order to incorporate these AR services effectively.
2. AR Works Best with Mobile Devices
The combination of Augmented Reality and Mobile devices is a match made in heaven. Mobile phone with their cameras and high processing power can provide the platform for AR apps to operate in a seamless manner. Additionally, since a major quantum of customers shops through their phones, E-commerce operators can simply design a mobile app equipped with a high octane AR experience.
Customers will be able to enjoy real-time rendering of models on live backgrounds, this helps them get a real taste of what is and what can be. Given the competitiveness of the market in today’s world, only the best will do; which is why employing experienced ecommerce website development company is a smart option
3. More Options – Less Time
Another added benefit that comes with AR is the fact that customers can try out a repertoire of products, right from the comfort of their homes. This will allow them to try out new permutations and combinations, which in-turn will lead to more sales. Suppose you are running an online clothing store, and you have also developed an AR app that works for most of the top products on the platform.
A customer who is browsing a particular selection through the app can try out more options through this service, without having to spend time or resources. This facet provides an edge over brick and mortar stores as well, as it avoids the hassle of commute. Moreover, you get to indulge in what you like independently, without other shoppers hogging from the same products you want. Given the importance of speed and availability when it comes to shopping, AR is definitely the way forward
4. AR helps Avoid Post-Purchase Risks
Several times customers end up dissatisfied with their purchases that they have made online. Online businesses have a duty to assure their customers that they will receive exactly what they have ordered. Not every brand delivers when it comes to this though.
You see a lot of sellers offering forged products or products with inferior quality. With 2d images, customers sometimes get the wrong impression of a product, and as such the matter of customer satisfaction suffers big time. This situation can be avoided using AR, through which customers can view detailed 3D images of products; this leaves no margins for error.
This not only gives brands a chance to acquire new customers but satisfy the existing ones as well. Retention is also a key aspect in the e-commerce world. The importance of the first impression is another sure shot reason why augmented reality has a vital role to play in the years to come.
5. Marketing Through AR
Another field where AR provides a significant advantage is that of Digital Marketing. AR with its immersive experience provides the perfect opportunity for digital advertisements. Studies have shown that companies nowadays prefer to air ads on such platforms as compared to other conventional mediums.
The novelty of AR combined with its rising popularity alone is sufficient to trump other mediums like TV ads, print ads, magazines and what not. E-commerce platforms can have their ads run on AR-based apps to attract customers. How is this advantageous? Not only the customers fulfill the targeted filters but they’re already online accessing these apps, which improves the probability of sales and conversions. And this is all that matters to an e-commerce store at the end of the day.
Also, if you happen to run your business on Shopify, much like a million others across the world, you can choose to employ the services of a professional Shopify development company to design AR-compatible ads for different apps, to fine tune your business in ways more than one.
6. A Virtual Store Experience
Even though customers nowadays prefer to shop online, still a good fraction of them would choose physical shopping over virtual shopping. For these customers, checking out all the products arranged in an orderly manner offers them a level of confidence. Sometimes, its all about the overall feel and experience really.
eCommerce store companies can offer the same level of experience of a virtual store through augmented reality. This Virtual Store will act as a regular physical store, wherein customers can move around, check out the range of products and shop for what they want. This simply superimposes a real-life physical store feeling online, which is only possible because of this mammoth technology.
If you wish to build such a store for your own business, then the Magento platform is the place to go. Magento is an open source e-commerce platform; with the astute Magento 2 upgrade, the platform now allows for more features like AR support and Mobile app development.
These are but just a few ways in which AR can be used by eCommerce companies to improve their businesses. However, it is important to know that the AR platform in itself is not without its drawbacks. First of all, the development of an AR app in itself is an expensive process. This factor puts AR out of the reach of small businesses which can’t afford such an expansive development process.
Secondly, using the app regularly takes some getting used to. This is because customers will need to spend some time understanding the app before they can fully operate it, especially in the initial days.
Finally, the most important factor hindering the widespread use of AR at the moment is the age of the technology itself. Since AR is a relatively new technology, most of the devices at present in the market do not support it; wholesome AR support more often than naught is only available with high-end devices.
These problems may seem a bit too much at the moment; however, all new technologies face similar challenges when they are nascent. With time, sooner rather than later, Augmented Reality too will overcome these challenges and be ready for widespread universal adoption.