Reaching consumers wherever they happen to be has been more important than ever in recent years. While online shopping has grown exponentially over the past decade, returns and negative reviews have followed suit—presenting a product accurately online has its limitations. Enter Augmented Reality, a way to test how a product will work on your walls, in your space, or even on your face. Companies using AR have already seen online sales increase 200%, as customers are able to more thoroughly interact with the product under consideration. Already making strides in the entertainment sector, with social media filters and games like PokemonGO enhancing the user’s reality, AR technology is well-positioned to become the standard for online shopping. The new consumer habits this technology creates may take over many industries.
What is AR?
A customer currently interacts with AR in two main ways:
- Uploading a picture to a device so the product image is superimposed to scale over it.
- Using a device’s camera to “try-on” or show real time placement of a product.
It is also being integrated into headsets and glasses.
AR is helpful in determining whether a piece of furniture will fit in your room or a style of glasses suits your face. It is being used to sample paint colors on walls, explore different makeup products, and even try on clothes. This ability to “try before you buy” has the potential to increase consumer confidence, reduce returns, and allow for an informed shopping experience any time, anywhere.
Retailers, as well, may benefit from integrating AR technology. How their customers interact with a product, and for how long, can inform future products and design. This increased customer engagement opens a whole new realm of market research while improving the customer experience, resulting in a win for both parties.
Taking a closer look
We will be launching a series of articles featuring different websites and apps that leverage this technology and explore how each impacts the customer experience of in store vs. online shopping. Convenience, cost, public health and environmental impacts, and consumer satisfaction can all be factors in the emergence of AR in online shopping. While the technology still has its limitations, it is advancing quickly. Keep an eye on AR to continue impacting how we buy and stay tuned for our articles highlighting its use by various companies.