It’s no secret that ecommerce has substantially changed the way customers shop. With on-demand app development making ordering products via mobile even more convenient than ever, it’s clear that having online platforms available for customers is important for any business.
However, surveys indicate that most customers still prefer to make purchases at brick-and-mortar stores. Online stores simply don’t give consumers the opportunity to engage with a product the way they can in person. A few pictures and a product description are rarely as compelling as the sensory experience of actually interacting with a product in the real world.
That’s why retailers should consider the way augmented reality may soon revolutionize ecommerce. This technology, made popular by apps like Pokemon Go! and Snapchat, allows users to superimpose virtual elements onto the real world via a mobile device or headset. This means it will also give online shoppers the experience of shopping in person, no matter where they are.
To better understand why AR is so useful in the ecommerce retail sector, keep these points in mind.
Meeting Consumer Expectations
It’s worth noting that some retailers have already seen the benefits of leveraging this innovation. A recent survey indicates that 61% of shoppers prefer stores that offer AR apps or features.
It’s easy to understand why. AR can simply give users a more accurate idea of whether a product is worth buying. For example, Ikea’s AR app lets shoppers insert a virtual rendering of a piece of furniture into their immediate surroundings. It’s easier to know if that couch you’re looking at online will match your living room’s overall decor if you can see exactly how it would look in context.
Many products customers may purchase boast features that can be difficult to illustrate online. For example, a customer can’t exactly appreciate the benefits of a new kitchen tool without using it first.
In the past, they would have to go to a brick-and-mortar shop to be able to test the tool. AR is changing that. Online shoppers will now be able to “try out” key features of products virtually. This boosts their odds of making a purchase.
Customizing the Experience
When a customer shops for items like clothing in person, they often customize their own experience by trying on different colors, mixing and matching various garments, and generally exploring their options.
AR provides the opportunity to have this same dynamic experience via an ecommerce platform. For example, Gap has been experimenting with an AR app that would essentially bring the dressing room into a customer’s home. Online shoppers will be able to more easily customize the outfits they try on in a way that illustrates what it might actually look like.
These points only represent the beginning of the AR ecommerce revolution. Retailers that begin taking advantage of this technology now are more likely to benefit from AR by learning how to use it to the greatest effect. If you work with a retail brand, you should also begin considering how to implement AR in your overall ecommerce experience.