AR’s impact on e-Commerce in numbers

Augmented reality is supposed to be the new trend of e-commerce - everybody is talking about its applications right now. Is it really worth the hype - or much ado about nothing? What is really behind this new shopping experience and what are the actual benefits? Skipping the sweet talk, we will look at statistics and access the future of e-commerce on a factual basis.

Copywriter, 07.12.2020

The downside of the digital market

Augmented Reality can be quickly dismissed as some unnecessary gadget that can’t possibly do much for their business. Yet offering new and fun shopping experiences for your customers isn’t the only thing it does - it is also able to drive sales numbers up at the same time.

Until now, the conversion rate within e-commerce was exceptionally low. Everything is paced faster on the internet: they are many more stimuli everywhere, from blinking adds to colorful, overwhelming amounts of texts - which in turn leads to a shorter attention span of the online shoppers.

While physical shops' conversion rate ranges between 20-40%, for online shops, it was only a tenth of their results - namely 2-4%, according to ThinkMobiles. To put it in words: if one hundred people visit your online shop, only about three of them actually end up buying the product. Following this logic, 97 peoples’ buying power gets lost in the process.


There are several problems prone to the e-commerce markets, that or not bound to the individual businesses, but rather due to its very nature:

- Inaccessibility of the products: more than half of the customers prefer brick-and-mortar shops since they have trouble thoroughly inspecting the product beforehand.
- “Try on” is missing: When shopping for furniture, clothes, or other accessories, the customer is unable to test the product: it is difficult to fully visualize the product only based on pictures presented in an online shop.
- Lack of personal bonding: humans are highly sensory people. Without being able to hold and thoroughly inspect a product, it doesn’t become real. Online shops are often impersonal and aren’t able to communicate the additional values of the product.
- Too much distraction: as already mentioned above, the online world is full of noise: links that lead to endless possibilities in a split second - your customers stumble over your website and are gone again, as soon as their lost track. It is important to have something that is able to keep their attention captivated and their minds focused.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality, mostly shortened to AR, builds a bridge between reality and the virtual world - it adds something new to a real environment and therefore ‘augments’ the reality we know. In order to access this expanded version of our world, often a medium, like smartphones or tablets, able to record its environments, is used. The AR software then takes the picture or live view, recognizes the heights and widths of its environment, and places the desired object within it. Due to technological innovation, AR solutions are meanwhile able to make the inserted object look natural - as if it were actually there, and not only a virtual projection.

AR - the solution?

In summary, online shops are yet failing to touch their customers with their products, especially if retailers try to sell something their customers haven’t seen in reality yet. The idea of the product may seem too abstract - which is the source of many lost sales during the buyer’s journey.

A solution, that overcomes the gap between reality and the virtual world is needed - which is where AR comes into play. It offers many opportunities, that may help to better the conversion rate of your shop:

  • Immersive: AR actively involves the customer and turns them from passive bystanders to an active part of the shopping process. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through the pictures, the shopper is actively involved and lead to focus completely on the product.

  • Product Testing: via the use of augmented reality, customers are now able to “test” the products within their homes, see if they fit in aesthetically and if their measurements would be right - going even further by offering more opportunities than physical shops.

  • Psychological impact: “ownership” of the problem emerges sooner via AR - while being able to test how a piece of furniture would look, the decision, where they would place the piece emerges - before it’s even up to debate whether to buy it or not.

  • Novelty: the idea of using AR within a business context instead of video games like Pokémon GO (linking to the previous blog post) is fairly new - by adapting early, retailers have the advantage of offering their customers a shopping experience that is new and exciting for them.

Image by ecomdash

The numbers speak for themselves: two-thirds of shoppers claim having a better shopping experience due to the help of AR. One third said the ability to virtually inspect a product beforehand would make them choose the online shop more often.
Even a fifth claims they would change their shopping habits completely if AR was more widely available, by not having to visit brick-and-mortar shops as frequently anymore.

AR is suitable for everyone

If we look at the leaders of the digital business world, we see that even major players like Apple and Facebook are already starting to invest in augmented reality technologies. It’s only a matter of time when the broad variety of online shops will follow.

Every branch of business could profit from using AR in their online shopping experience. As long as it is a physical product, the technology can be implemented as creatively as possible:

Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality - what’s the difference?

People do no longer have to be afraid a product won’t match their expectations - with the possibility to examine a product beforehand from every perspective and measuring its size, customers can see exactly what they will spend their money on and thus increase buyer confidence.

Not only looking through pictures but actively engaging with the product turns this part of the buyer’s journey into a personal and interactive product experience. Through spending more time with products, shoppers get more invested and are more likely to buy the product in the end. According to the graph below, they would be even willing to pay more for the product:

  • Saves costs: especially for retailers, shop rent, and costs of displaying a product physically can be minimized.

  • Virtual try-on: this is especially popular amongst online eye-wear retailers: due to not having a physical shop, the use of augmented reality allows them to offer their customers a try-on of the glasses, nonetheless.

  • Virtual shop tour: not only single products can be presented via AR: the entire shop can be turned into a virtual, around-the-clock accessible product display. Neither restricted opening hours nor outer influences could keep your clients from visiting you.

The sports-wear brand Nike uses AR not only as a means of display but as well as a tool to help its customers measure their right shoe size. For this to work, the shoppers simply have to record their feet: the AR solution recognizes the surroundings and calculates the correct size.

Picture from

The best part of Augmented Reality: it’s not something only big corporations can afford to implement. Creators like Roomle offer accessible solutions, that fit for all sizes of businesses. It may even pay for itself with the increasing sales return that comes with it.

The internet is a wonderful place that offers an endless number of possibilities. Nowadays, nearly everyone is able to set up their own online shop and start earning money on the internet. As affordable and easy-implementable is AR:

Roomle provides a service, that is not bound to any web host, can be implemented in every shopping solution. They offer to turn your product into a photo-realistic 3D model, as well as and provide the program needed for display. Instead of spending an unholy amount of money on R&D, Roomle provides a ready-to-install solution, that will definitely yield a high ROI.

App-less vs. app-bound AR

The number of sales conducted via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are on the rise. And those numbers are not expected to take a U-turn anytime soon: more and more people do their online shopping now while commuting, during work breaks or in the evening in front of their TV, which raises new standards for the web experience.

It is no longer enough to only optimize websites for laptop and desktop uses. Other devices have to be included in the planning and construction as well. The online shop has to be adapted for all screen widths and working memory sizes - and all its functions mustn’t be forgotten in process.

What is web-native AR?

With AR applications, one has to differentiate between those, that are bound to a separate application or the ones, that work directly via the internet browser. The advantage of app-less or so-called “web native” solutions are their independence and the simple accessibility they offer - in contrast to app-bound AR, no program has to be installed in advance: the customer is able to directly start with benefitting from the service.

No matter where your client is shopping or which device they’re using - Roomle offers both: web-native AR, as well as an iOS / Android app. The solution can be seamlessly implemented in any kind of online shop, while offering the option to adjust the colors in order to fit your brand image.

Augmented Reality: accessible, attractive, and affordable

The future of AR in e-commerce looks bright and promising: it’s a novelty that is able to redesign digital markets worldwide, aiming to close the gap between the physical and virtual world. It is a proven factor in raising conversion rates, attracting and retaining customers, offering an accessible platform - all of this, while still being affordable.