With consumers’ growing appetite for convenient and engaging experiences, retailers now strive to combine the best components from e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores to beat the competition. In this regard, Augmented Reality (AR) has become one of the favorite technologies used by e-commerce players to elevate customer experience and engage with shoppers. Let’s explore how AR technologies bring online shopping to the next level and benefit e-commerce companies.
AR shopping tools improve product perception, enhancing overall customer experience and minimizing returns
One of the biggest challenges of online shopping is that you can’t examine the desired item thoroughly and try it on. Flat images in an online catalog don’t provide all the information needed to make an informed purchase decision, so consumers often doubt whether the product is worth buying. Augmented Reality fills this gap by allowing online shoppers to place items in a real-life environment, explore them from different angles, estimate the size and dimensions, and even see the materials in movement, which all leads to improved product perception. Recent research by Alter Agents, Snap Inc., and Publicis Media revealed that 80% of AR shoppers feel more confident in their online purchases after experiencing the items through AR.
On top of that, Augmented Reality provides try-before-you-buy-experiences as it allows shoppers to virtually try on desired items. Customers may imagine themselves in a range of styles and sizes using AR try-on technology, which helps e-commerce businesses minimize returns. Virtual try-on is effective for any product category, including apparel, shoes, and accessories. It’s particularly useful for buyers of expensive items like precious rings and watches since jewelry, watches and accessories are the third most returned category of goods.
Looking ahead, retailers are investing in AR technology to blur the line between online and offline shopping. A McKinsey Returns Management Survey found that about 10% of apparel companies already use augmented and virtual reality tools to reduce the number of returns. Back in 2019, Nike launched Nike Fit, an application that uses AR technology to measure customers’ feet and give them the correct size in a variety of Nike shoes. Another great example is Warby Parker, an American retailer of glasses, that offers virtual try-on to give shoppers the confidence to purchase glasses without viewing them in person.
AR content boosts customer engagement, resulting in higher sales
According to Rosetta’s Customer Engagement Study, engaged consumers buy 90% more frequently and spend 60% more per transaction. Thanks to interactive and playful online experiences, AR shopping tools have the power to strengthen customers’ emotional connection with a brand. One of the industries that actively uses AR to engage with consumers is fashion, since today’s fashion buyers value experiences over things and have distinct preferences about how they want to shop.
The experience of Cappasity’s clients shows that AR shopping tools are efficient both in online and offline retail. As the company that provides solutions for immersive shopping experiences, Cappasity allows brands to create high-quality AR content within as little as 20 minutes, without manual 3D modeling. Cappasity AR holograms let consumers interact with items like they would in real life and offer them an accurate and complete view of products. AR holograms provide animated looks, allowing shoppers to envision the materials in movement. To make the customer journey more engaging, retailers use AR holograms not only in online catalogs, but also in brick-and-mortar stores. Better customer engagement both online and in-store makes customers choose your brand over that of your competitors, and attracts customers through a variety of channels, resulting in higher sales.
Click the “Cube” icon to examine the look in AR.
AR helps brands reach Gen Z, build brand awareness, and create an effective word-of-mouth strategy
Thanks to its ability to make customer experience more engaging, AR technology is a great tool to reach “camera-native” Gen Z generation who have grown up entirely in the digital era. For example, Gucci has adopted Snapchat’s AR try-on lens to allow shoppers to test how its sneakers look on their feet. With this project, the Italian luxury brand intended to both make online shopping smoother and to win fans from younger audiences. Fast-fashion retailer H&M introduced AR filters on Instagram as a part of its promotion for a collection inspired by 1990s streetwear. The aim of the campaign was to target a Gen Z audience.
Brands are also now experimenting with Augmented Reality NFTs. This new trend helps retailers generate more word of mouth publicity around the company or product, increases brand awareness, and creates a new revenue stream. A great example of a successful NFT project is Dolce & Gabbana’s CollezioneGenesi, a nine-piece collection of augmented reality wearables, that sold for a whopping $6 million. In response to brands’ wishes to hop on the bandwagon, new platforms are emerging to help them launch immersive NFTs for creating engaging customer experiences. For instance, Cappasity has recently announced the launch of a solution for creating NFT-based loyalty programs, allowing brands to create a new marketing and communication channel with customers.
As you see, Augmented Reality allows retailers to improve product perception, make customer experience smoother and more interactive, engage with consumers in a variety of ways, as well as promote new products more effectively and build brand awareness. Investing in AR technology today will give brands a competitive advantage in the future.
Kosta Popov, CEO and founder of Cappasity — the company providing an easy and scalable platform for creation, embedding and analysis of 3D and AR content — has 20+ years of experience and a successful track record as a software company CEO. Under Kosta’s lead, Cappasity has so far successfully raised $7.4M. Kosta is an expert in 3D technologies, SaaS solutions and mobile applications. He was named one of the top innovators by Intel Software.