Getting Started with Ecommerce Augmented Reality

Updated 1 year ago
Paula Guevara
March 23, 2023
4 min read

While it may sound futuristic, ecommerce uses Augmented Reality (AR) to sell products online every day. Yet, one of the most significant obstacles consumers face when shopping online is that it doesn’t deliver a full sensory experience. 

At a brick-and-mortar store, shoppers can try on clothing, touch fabrics, or see exactly how large the armchair is that they want to buy. While online retailers cannot provide these things to their customers, AR gives shoppers more conceptual information about the products you sell. 

This article will cover how AR delivers a better shopping experience for online shoppers, but first, let's discuss what augmented reality is and how it works. 

What is Augmented Reality?  

“Augmented reality” is often used interchangeably with “virtual reality.” However, they are actually quite different. Virtual reality (VR), such as Meta's Oculus Quest, delivers an immersive experience that places users in a completely artificial world. 

You aren't meant to experience the real world, and typically, you can’t see what’s happening beyond the VR device. AR simply augments the world that actually exists, and users still perceive to some degree.

If you remember the popular game Pokémon Go, that game uses AR. Users play the game while moving through reality, looking at the real environment on their smartphones that overlays digital characters in certain locations.

How AR in Ecommerce Delivers a Better Shopping Experience 

While the previous section mentions the example that demonstrates how AR works for gaming apps, AR can deliver a better shopping experience for your online shoppers. Let’s discuss how AR can help you grow your online store:

AR Delivers a Customized Shopping Experience     

Online retailers have numerous opportunities to customize the shopper's experience using AR. While many consumers have gotten comfortable using ecommerce sites to shop, there are still purchases where contextual information can boost sales. 

For example, online furniture and home decor retailers can offer an AR app that allows shoppers to use a 3D model for a true-to-scale rendering of how the item will fit into the consumers' space. Previewing placement gives shoppers a real-time view of how the product will look in their environment.  

AR Allows Users to Try On Products Virtually   

For many, trying on clothes is their least favorite part about buying clothes. Purchasing clothes online doesn't allow you to try them on, which is equally as nerve-racking. 

However, some AR solutions allow customers to "try-on" clothes virtually through the app. Gap is a prime example of this use of this AR. The brand's online shop, DressingRoom, uses AR so customers can see how the clothes will fit them. Makeup, accessories, and even eyewear brands use AR so customers can "try-on" their products. 

AR Enables Interactive User Manuals 

Products that have a bit of a learning curve to use can benefit from AR that enables interactive user manuals. It can give the user a real-time understanding of how the product works. 

These interactive manuals respond to user actions and provide on-page contextual support. When the AR apps scan the products, it displays arrows and text animation on the screen to direct the user.

AR Supports Social Media Filters 

If you use Instagram Stories, Facebook Reels, TikTok, or Snapchat, you are familiar with AR filters. Users once used these filters for fun, but now there has been a rise in brands using these filters on their social media. The benefits of using this AR include:

  • Showcases new products, enabling people to test them out
  • Boosts audience engagement
  • Encourages people to tag brands in their content
  • Showcases your brand, allowing you to stand out from your competitors

AR Helps You Increase Customer Engagement 

Since AR technology is interactive by nature, customers are sure to get hooked to your brand’s website. The longer users stay on your site, the more chances there are for them to make a purchase. Even if your customers don’t buy from you during their initial visit to your site, they have developed a relationship with your brand. That means they are more likely to buy from you and remember you in future purchases. 

AR Can Reduce Product Return

When you meet customer expectations, you win over a loyal and happy shopper. If users can see what the product will look like, how it will work, and whether it is a good fit for them, they are less likely to return the item because it wasn't what they expected. 

If your brand uses AR to allow customers to virtually try on clothes, the item is likely to fit better than had the user not had access to an AR tool during their purchase. That means fewer returns overall.

Types of AR Applications for Ecommerce Retailers 

Several types of AR applications are available that you can integrate into your ecommerce site. Each has its own capabilities. Here is a general overview of the most common types of AR apps:

  • Market-based: Also known as image recognition, marker-based AR detects the "marker" item in front of the camera and delivers details about the object on the screen. The AR detects the marker, then replaces it with a 3D rendering so customers can view it from every angle.
  • Markerless: With this AR application, the specific object in the real world does not trigger the app. Instead, users place a virtual object anywhere they want and can rotate and manipulate the item. 
  • Location-based: Think back to the example of Pokémon Go. It uses markerless AR that uses geographical data to display its digital content. 
  • Projection-based: This AR projects synthetic light onto a physical surface. It even allows users to interact with it in some cases. A hologram is a common example of this type of AR.

Increase Brand Loyalty Using AR for Ecommerce with ConfigureID

Schedule a Demo

Premium brands wishing to increase customer loyalty while increasing profits using AR tools turn to ConfigureID. The product personalization platform offers photorealistic visualization, an intuitive interface, and sophisticated configuration logic to boost conversation rates. With ConfigureID, consumers from around the world can explore more than 700 million product personalization options using AR for ecommerce. 

Contact us today to learn more about how ConfigureID can bring customization to your product line using AR to deliver a more enticing shopping experience.

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