The digital age has led to an abundance of new merchants who thrive on selling online, directly to the consumer. As retailers begin to focus on creating a cohesive experience both online and offline, technology has been vital in attracting online shoppers through engaging eCommerce experiences, particularly through augmented reality (AR).
Augmented reality is allowing retailers to offer a more personal, interactive experience that will change the way we shop forever.
In recent years, e-commerce has seen considerable success and is now, by and large, an integral part of our lifestyles. In fact, in 2015, online shopping giant Amazon eclipsed the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, in terms of valuation.
Online shopping does come with its own set of perks, but it deprives shoppers of the advantages to shopping in-store. E-commerce consumers do not get to actually see the product, feel it or evaluate it personally. Based on the reputation of the retailer and the product’s reviews, consumers trust that the shipped product is exactly how they saw it.
The growth of Augmented Reality (AR) is presenting a different kind of experience. AR takes the idea of an immersive experience a step ahead, by blending together these virtual objects with your surrounding environment, in real-time.
Many companies are working on the development of a headset that can render projections into our reality but with the advancement of AR through smartphones, augmented reality has seen a real opportunity in eCommerce. In the not-so-distant future, we can expect AR headsets to show you how outfits would fit on you before you even have them in hand. Decorating your new home, trying on new makeup, and even seeing how complex products function are all uses that augmented reality is positioned to address for e-commerce retailers.
Innovation in retail seeks to provide value to both brands and retailers alike but none have been as impactful throughout the buyer’s journey like augmented reality. AR is positioned to increase sales by allowing customers to try before buying and, in turn, reduce returns by removing the initial guesswork. Customers want to know what they’re purchasing and AR is helping customers become more confident in their buying decisions while providing quantifiable differences for online merchants.
The future of the omnichannel experience will rely heavily on augmented reality and it is already adding more value in getting shoppers to engage on retailer’s mobile platforms as well as driving in-store traffic. Brand manufacturers will indeed have a huge stake in the future of augmented commerce. As e-commerce evolves, so will consumer expectations. Product descriptions and 360 photos will no longer suffice. Mobile shoppers will want and expect the ability to test products at home before buying through augmented reality.