How does Augmented Reality impact e-Commerce sales?

Augmented Reality (AR) is the new big trend in e-Commerce. Rightfully so: while being hit by a pandemic, the widespread adoption and the continuous advancement of the internet in combination with the newest AR technology might be the savior of online retail. AR is predicted to generate more than 120 billion US-dollars in 2020, making it a new opportunity just waiting to be leveraged.

Copywriter, 24.11.2020

What exactly is AR?

Augmented reality (AR) had its first global appearance in 2016 with the mobile game “Pokémon GO”. People worldwide were introduced to the concept of seeing your surrounding world through a screen, including 3D models of “Pokémon” seamlessly added to the environment.

This trend introduced the concept of AR to the general public. By showing a live view of the surroundings of the customer, the technology is able to detect surfaces and calculate the size of the desired object within the new environment. So is reality and the virtual version of the product blended together.

Yet, virtually adding a new element to the surroundings isn’t reserved for video games only: In e-Commerce, it can be used as a new form of product display. It helps envision the item not only in front of the customer but also allows them to place the item within the room and see how and if it fits the rest of the furniture.

Rubens app-less AR

How AR is transforming e-Commerce

Augmented Reality is exactly what the market needs right now. While leaving the house should be saved for vital necessities, online shopping never had more sales return. Yet for many, not being able to see and try the product in person is a big disadvantage of shopping online. The introduction of AR to e-commerce is able to close this breach.

This could also result in a diminishing number of product returns and complaints as well: less customers will have to send their orders back because they realized that what they ordered is not to their desires. Being able to thoroughly inspect a 3D model of a piece of furniture and virtually placing it in your living room and testing the measurements will decrease the loss of sales due to returns.

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:

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From a customer’s perspective, the use of augmented reality in e-commerce as a fun and playful help to decide on what product decision to make. It makes up a valuable addition to (online) retail and is beneficial for both the clients and the retailers themselves.

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

While looking into the topic of AR, it’s impossible to not come across the term “VR” as well. Short for “Virtual Reality”, the experience goes further than augmented reality: instead of adding new elements to existing surroundings, VR creates an entirely new world.

Through special goggles and a suitable application, the client is able to immerse themself completely in the foreign world. This is not only a great way to experience video game storylines: VR has already found its way into the world of commerce. In 2016, Tommy Hilfiger used this form of display to let their customers experience their fall debut fashion shows first hand.

Web-native AR is a gamechanger

Pokémon GO and Tommy Hilfiger’s Fashion Show both needed special applications to be accessed. A more accessible and customer-friendly way to use the benefits of this way of product display is the so-called “web-native AR”. It refers to augmented reality solutions, for which the customer doesn’t need to download an additional app.

Appless AR is available on the same website: directly implementing augmented reality in your online shop solution is an additional service to your clients, which prevents them from interrupting their buying process. A study showed that conversion rates of app-less AR is 33 times higher than app-bound versions.

Without having to download an app, your customers get all the benefits from AR technology in e-commerce. This form of web-native AR gives access to a broader audience, providing a simple surface to a wider range of people, which will increase product sales.

A web-native AR solution that is easy to implement is designed by Roomle: as the first provider to offer this service in this branch, both manufacturers and retailers are able to meet shopper’s expectations more accurately than before.

Benefits of AR for Online Sales

  • Building confidence in the product: AR makes customers aware of every detail of the product, giving them additional trust in an item: they know exactly what to expect from the product.

  • Convenience increases: Neither restricted opening hours nor remote store location can influence customer traction anymore.

  • Real-life simulation: “Try-before-you-buy” is no longer an experience reserved for physical shops. The AR simulation places the product directly in the living room of your clients.

  • Inspires imagination: placing the product virtually in the living room helps shoppers envision the real product: they instantly think of the time after they already made the purchase and are more like to grow attached to the item.

But not only customer’s experiences are improved by AR technology. Retailers, as well as manufacturers, can profit in many ways as well:

Benefits for Retailers:

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

  • Maximize sales: customers enjoy the new possibilities and services AR offers and are more likely to buy the product in the end if AR is used, comparing to regular online shopping sales.

  • New target group: the novelty attracts a younger generation of clients: being informed of the possibilities of AR, they are native to the concept and embrace its implementation in e-commerce.

How the retail landscape looks currently

During the year 2020, both through unforeseen circumstances and the correlating spread of digitalization, more and more retailers discover the use of online shops for their business. Many owners were urged to move their retail in the digital world since restricted opening hours and fear influenced their sales negatively.

In order to keep up, it was and is still vital to adapt to changes. Since it is fairly simple to set up a decent online store in less than a day, competition is increasing by the minute. One has to set themselves apart from the crowd and offer something, the others don’t: in this case, AR.

Customer’s expectations are ever-ascending and thus the driver behind most new developments. Nowadays, the simple set up of a few pictures and descriptions of the article are not enough: customers want, what the COVID-19 crisis took from them: the possibility, to get familiar with the product.

AR offers this, and more: app-less AR offers the possibility to go back to a product and inspect it again, beyond opening hours, without having to go to a shop again. This technology is not only viable in times of crisis but will remain up-to-date aside from the special situation we are in.

Roomle is a pioneer in web-native AR solutions. Their technology can help generate a competitive advantage by implementing their web-solutions within your online shop. No new web host or resisting of the original website needed.

Future outlook of AR in e-Commerce

AR will change the way customers shop and approach a product and its store: They no longer have to rely on pictures and store reputation but are able to examine their desired items further. As long as the COVID-19 pandemic holds on, VR is the most viable bet retailers can make.

Roomle helps retailers with helping their customers: Roomle’s web-native AR solution is easily implementable and provides shoppers everything they need for having an unforgettable shopping experience. Four different levels of complexity assure that there is a perfect solution for everyone.