The digital landscape has changed the way we experience the world, however, augmented reality has taken it to another level. In the last couple of years, AR has made an emergence as being a technological game-changer, changing how consumers and online advertisers alike operate.
While it’s still somewhat of new and emerging technology, AR is rapidly growing, and there’s endless proof to back it up. The AR market has reached a valuation of nearly $15 billion in 2020, expecting to reach upwards of 88 billion by 2026! In the context of online shopping and retail, AR has become a commonly used technology, with an estimated 83 million American’s using it every month over the past year.
The use-cases for AR are undeniable and it’s only going to become more apparent in the months and years to come, especially in the fashion and retail industries. With that said, what follows will be a discussion of what augmented reality is, how it works, and why it’s so beneficial for online businesses and consumers alike.
So, without further ado, let’s get right into it.
Not to be confused with virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) is a technology offering interactive, inclusive experiences whereby tangible objects found in the real world are generated on-screen. AR can be thought of as a modified digital perception of the physical world.
In the context of online shopping and retail, AR provides businesses and consumers alike an enhanced and convenient shopping experience whereby users can preview products before purchase. More on this a little later…
The primary intention of augmented reality in an eCommerce setting is to provide users with valuable insight into the applications of what they’re considering to purchase while providing businesses with insight into analytics on buying behaviour. The end result is an enjoyable, convenient, and beneficial experience for all parties involved.
Employing AR technology is an extremely advantageous and proven-effective way to boost sales and increase conversion rates. That’s why so many businesses are beginning to see its value and implement it accordingly.
When it comes to online consumers, the benefits are no different; it’s why over 100 million consumers and growing use AR when shopping. Simply put, the advantages of AR tech-nology are undeniable. While there are too many benefits to count, the following will be a detail of four key benefits of AR.
Arguably the most beneficial part of augmented reality is its ability to increase conversion rates and entice potential buyers to purchase. Think about it…You see a piece of furniture that you like but are unable to envision how it would look in your room. What do you do? Move on and keep scrolling, ultimately failing to find a purchasable item.
Now, consider this…You find a piece of furniture that you like and thanks to AR, you’re able to virtually envision how it would fit in your room. Because of this, you’re satisfied with the product and you proceed to purchase.
This scenario happens on a regular basis with products like furniture, clothing, sunglasses, and more thanks to AR technology. Thanks to the early success of AR on conversion rates, more and more businesses are beginning to double down on its implementation, thus further popularizing the technology. Soon enough, AR will be commonplace across E-commerce platforms.
By giving a more interactive and engaging online shopping experience, AR is able to enhance the overall enjoyment one gets from shopping, not to mention the value they receive when journeying through the buying decision.
This is otherwise known as experiential marketing; a type of marketing involving interaction and engagement, shown to improve conversion rates, reduce return rates, and increase customer retention, among other things.
So, if you’re looking for ways to improve the overall shopping experience, consider AR. In fact, 61% of consumers would prefer to shop at stores that offer augmented reality over the ones that don’t; that’s got to stand for something, right?!
One of the most effective strategies for reducing customer returns is AR integration. In fact, some companies have experienced a reduction in returns by 25%. Why is AR so effective at reducing return rates and thus improving satisfaction amongst consumers? Because they’re able to try before they buy!
One of the most common reasons for a return is that a product was “not as described”, however, with the use of AR, consumers are able to see exactly what they’re getting before they decide to purchase.
By providing the consumer with all the information they need to relieve uncertainty and increase confidence, not only do you increase conversion rates as noted earlier but you reduce return rates, thus making for a much more efficient sales cycle for your business.
Taking into consideration the current state of the world amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, this couldn’t be more relevant of a benefit. There’s a reason online shopping has reached record-highs, with more and more opting to do so in order to avoid viral transmission and contraction.
Thanks to the try before you buy model, augmented reality allows consumers to virtually try on clothing and accessories without ever needing to touch them, or better yet, visit a brick-and-mortar retail store!
If hygiene is a priority, augmented reality is the solution…
As illustrated throughout, the future of shopping is here. With the AR industry at large expected to be worth north of $300 billion by the end of 2024, the technology is only going to improve, thus improving the results it provides in unison.