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Augmented Reality Enhances E-commerce Shopping

Augmented reality enhances ecommerce shopping.

Do you ever wish you could give your customers a more engaging, interactive experience? Then I’ve got news for you. Augmented reality in e-commerce can change how your shoppers browse and buy online.

Online buyers are already flocking to AR, with Statista predicting that a third of U.S. consumers will use AI by 2025. 

Using augmented reality for e-commerce benefits buyers and sellers alike. Buyers can make informed decisions and are less likely to return items. At the same time, sellers can offer a better customer experience and boost their conversions.

It’s a win-win, right?

If you’re ready to learn more about how augmented reality can transform your e-commerce business, read on.

Augmented Reality in E-commerce: Key Takeaways

  • Augmented reality (AR) in e-commerce is gaining popularity among consumers and is predicted to be used by a third of United States consumers by 2025.
  • By using AR in e-commerce, buyers can make informed decisions and are less likely to return items, while sellers can offer a better customer experience and boost their conversions.
  • AR is a game-changer for online buyers, allowing them to visualize products in their own environment and see what products would look like in the real world.
  • AR helps online brands to meet buyers’ evolving needs and provides a competitive advantage.
  • The key features of AR in e-commerce include product demos, virtual showrooms, AR-powered shopping apps, product customization, and education.
  • AR improves the customer experience by providing interactive product visualization and virtual try-on experiences.
  • E-commerce businesses can use the data from customer interactions to optimize product offerings, personalize marketing, and improve the customer experience.

What is Augmented Reality (AR)?

Augmented reality combines virtual and real-world environments.

Differences between augmented reality, mixed reality, and virtual reality graphic augmented reality.

It overlaps images, sounds, 3D models, and digital elements onto the physical environment. This leads to an immersive and interactive experience for the user.

Consumers can experience AR via smartphones, tablets, smart glasses, or headsets.

It’s steadily gaining popularity, and gaming, education, and entertainment retailers use it.

Significance of AR for Enhancing the Online Shopping Experience

AR is a real game-changer for online buyers, with brands like Nike, L’oreal, and Wayfair running with it.

By letting buyers see what products would look like in the real world, shoppers can visualize products in their homes, like furniture, for example.

Augmented reality (AR) is enhancing how we buy clothes, too. Virtual showrooms allow consumers to “try before they buy” with virtual try-ons. And cosmetic brands like Charlotte Tilbury are also getting in on the act. 

Augmented reality gives buyers a real sense of whether an item of clothing suits them, if a piece of furniture would look right in their home, or if that shade of lipstick looks good on them, helping to remove any uncertainty a shopper may have.

E-commerce is transforming how consumers interact with products before they buy. Using augmented reality in e-commerce brings products to life for buyers, allowing them to visualize what they would look like in their own environment. 

Augmented reality in e-commerce also helps online brands to meet buyers’ needs. Research shows shoppers’ expectations are evolving, especially among Gen Z (12-27 year-olds).

A whopping 92 percent say they want to use AR for shopping, while over 50 percent of Gen Z say they’re more likely to pay attention to ads that include AR.

Augmented reality and Gen Z survey results Augmented reality in e-commerce

Then there’s the competitive advantage. If your e-commerce store offers a superior experience to your rivals, that helps you stand out.

And let’s not overlook customer engagement.

E-commerce shopping often lacks the personal touch, but augmented reality changes everything. With AR to attract shoppers and keep them captivated, you can boost conversion rates and potentially improve your average order values.

Augmented Reality in E-commerce: Key Features

Augmented reality in e-commerce is the future of e-commerce shopping. One of the major advantages of augmented reality is its versatility. There are also product demos, virtual showrooms, AR-powered shopping apps, AR-powered packaging, product customization, and education.

As well as improving the customer experience, introducing augmented reality for e-commerce refines the backend of an online store. Use it to speed up delivery times, scan multiple barcodes at a time for inventory management, and aid navigation. 

Augmented reality also:

  • Gives you data-driven insights: e-commerce businesses can use the data from customer interactions to understand buyer behavior and which AR features are the most appealing. You can then use this data to optimize product offerings, identify pain points, and improve the customer experience.
  • Aids personalization: By using data from customer behavior, preferences, and purchasing data, you can personalize marketing and product recommendations.
  • Improves navigation: AR enables buyers to scan in a QR code and immediately view the product rather than scrolling through categories.
  • Allows gamification: AR improves engagement through scavenger hunts, quizzes, and other games. For instance, a cosmetics store could launch a scavenger game where buyers find and scan hidden QR codes for discount codes and prizes.

Interactive Product Visualization Through AR

Product visualization lets customers picture how home decor and furniture would look in their homes. By using 3D in augmented AR, shoppers get a better idea of size, scale, color, and features. Doing this allows shoppers to assess the product’s suitability for their home.

By giving customers a more detailed view of a product, shoppers can buy confidently, making for a more satisfying customer experience.

Virtual Try-on Experiences for Fashion and Accessories

One of the biggest problems when buying online is shoppers can’t get a real idea of what an item looks like.

But when you introduce augmented reality in e-commerce, you can overcome that common obstacle. Virtual showrooms or try-ons allow browsers to try different outfits and experiment with colors, styles, and sizes. Consumers can also see whether clothing or cosmetics suit their skin tone and body type.

For example, Google introduced a virtual shopping feature that lets shoppers see how clothing drapes, folds, clings, and stretches will look:

Google AR shopping app augmented reality in e-commerce

AR-powered Product Customization Options

For an even more personalized, interactive experience, AR-powered customized options let customers visualize and modify colors, materials, sizes, etc.

This approach reflects the buyers’ preferences and unique style for one-off products they can’t get anywhere else. For example, you can see how a dress would look with different colors, cuts, shapes, and fabrics before buying.

Examples of Augmented Reality in E-commerce

From AR-powered shopping apps to product demos, augmented reality is revolutionizing how shoppers buy and interact with products.

Current examples of augmented reality in e-commerce include:

  • Virtual showrooms: These let shoppers explore virtual showrooms and mix and match furniture, accessories, and colors before they buy.
  • AR-powered shopping apps: Customers can browse and “try on” jewelry or different shades of makeup, and companies are creating software to facilitate this. One example is the Trillion jewelry app for creating and sharing 3D content and AR experiences.
  • AR-packing: Retailers can add QR codes to their packaging for shoppers to scan and get further information or see demos.

Showcasing Successful Implementations of AR in Online Retail

Brands are already seeing the advantages of augmented reality for e-commerce, and high-profile companies are leading the way. Let’s look at how IKEA, Amazon, and Aldi use AR.

Ikea’s Place App

When it comes to retail innovation, you can always rely on Ikea to step up. It was one of the early adopters of AR and introduced its app in 2017.

Shoppers can upload a picture of a room to the app and then view what the furniture would look like in their house.

More recently, IKEA introduced Studio Pro for iPad users to deliver a “more personalized and realistic home furnishing experience.”

IKEA Studio Pro app screenshot augmented reality in e-commerce

Amazon

In 2022, Amazon launched a virtual try-on feature for shoes, sunglasses, and other accessories.

Shoppers using the Amazon Shopping App on iOS for models 7 onwards. Just click the “try-on” button underneath the product image and activate your camera to see how it looks.

Amazon virtual try on feature landing page screenshot augmented reality in e-commerce

Audi

Car manufacturer Audi lets consumers customize vehicles by trim, driving experience, upholstery, body paint finishes, and more. Once they’ve finished customizing, shoppers can click “next” to see their customized vehicle.

Augmented Reality and Mobile Shopping

Augmented reality and mobile shopping go hand in hand. By the end of this year, there’ll be approximately 1.7 billion AR users globally on mobile. That’s a sharp rise from 200 million less than a decade ago.

Augmented reality and mobile shopping chart.

Introducing AI into mobile shopping has the potential to increase sales in the furniture and fashion niches while improving the overall customer experience.

Enhancing Mobile Shopping Experiences Through AR Features

By using AR for your mobile shopping apps and enabling customers to visualize products in a real-world environment, you’re creating a more enjoyable experience and providing fresh ways for shoppers to engage.

For example, the Italian cosmetics brand WeMakeUp uses an AR Face Filter, allowing users to try different lipstick shades. When they launched the AR app, it achieved more than a million impressions in 24 hours. 

We Makeup virtual reality mobile app screenshot augmented reality in e-commerce

Mobile Augmented Reality Trends and Innovations

Smartphone’s advanced capabilities, consumer demand for an immersive experience, and the growing use of AR on social media fuel innovations and drive new trends.

Fresh innovations include:

  • WebAR, which allows Augmented experiences via web browsers.
  • Wearable AR devices to enable hands-free, immersive shopping.
  • Using AI and machine learning for improved enhanced user interactions.

Future Trends in Augmented Reality E-commerce

AR in e-commerce is sophisticated now, but the best is still yet to come. Here are some of the future trends:

  • Enhanced visualization and personalization: Higher levels of personalization and visualization are already possible thanks to augmented reality in e-commerce. These features will become even more sophisticated in the future. Fashion, beauty, homeware, and furniture brands will likely benefit most.
  • Virtual changing rooms and try-ons: The market for virtual changing rooms will reach $6.5 million by 2025. With the increased adoption of mobile commerce, integration of smart mirrors in physical stores, enhanced customer connections, advancements in technology, and integration with the Metaverse are key trends to watch out for.
  • AR and VR: Another trend shaping e-commerce is using augmented and virtual reality together for more immersive shopping experiences.
  • Growing use of AR on social media. For example, Gucci promotes its brand with virtual try-ons using SnapChat’s AR features.
  • AR hardware: Smart glasses and contact lenses allow a hands-free experience. These will likely become more sophisticated as hardware improves, opening up a new world for e-commerce and shoppers.

As a side note, if you’d like more insights into marketing trends and predictions for 2024, check out my latest guide.

FAQS

What are common applications of augmented reality in e-commerce?

Virtual try-ons, interactive product demos, 3D views, and visualizing furniture or decor in the home are all common applications that you can expect to see more of. 

How can businesses integrate augmented reality into their e-commerce strategy?

Businesses can integrate augmented reality in e-commerce strategy with virtual try-ons for improved visualization, personalization, and AR hardware, like 3D glasses or software. Another option is using AR-enabled virtual assistants.

What impact does augmented reality have on customer engagement and conversion rates?

By providing immersive and interactive experiences, AR enables customers to engage with products in a way that was not possible before and maximize conversions. According to stats, AR product experiences are an incredible 200 percent more engaging, while 71 percent of buyers say they’ll shop more regularly if they could use AR. 
This increased engagement leads to higher conversion rates as customers are more likely to purchase when they have a deeper understanding of the product. 

Conclusion

Augmented reality is a real game-changer that can transform e-commerce marketing and how we shop.

When you use augmented reality for e-commerce, you allow customers to picture your products in the real world and try on clothes before buying. This can reduce returns and be a win-win for buyers and sellers alike.

AR has already shaken up the online retail world, and given the advancements in AI tools, it’s likely to continue to revolutionize the way we purchase online well into the future.

You can use these evolving technologies for greater engagement, convenience, and personalization.

Are you ready to use augmented reality in e-commerce? How do you plan to implement it? Tell us below.

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