According to Business Insider Intelligence’s “The Mobile AR Opportunity in Retail Report,” 75 percent of consumers now expect shops to offer an augmented reality (AR) experience when purchasing. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that if a retailer wants to attract customers back to their stores and be seen as cutting-edge, digital technology must be used as a touchpoint along the client purchase experience.
AR is now more than ever a critical component of a company’s overall marketing and ecommerce strategy. Normal shopping patterns have changed dramatically as a result of the proliferation of in-store COVID-19 health concerns. Consumers’ worries of physically touching products have grown in recent research, therefore businesses may alleviate their minds by allowing them to preview goods in a digital form with AR. When it comes to developing virtual and interactive content, however, many brands are still battling to establish their foothold.
What does 3D + AR equal? 2x shopping conversion rates
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This essential strategy applies to everyone, not just brick-and-mortar retailers, and if done effectively, AR experiences can raise conversion rates by up to 200 percent (according to a research by the AR-focused startup Adloid), as well as reduce returns by a significant amount. What’s the deal with the increase? Simply said, incorporating augmented reality into the customer journey creates a one-of-a-kind digital experience that motivates customers to spend more time with a company.
Take, for example, John Lewis & Partners, a high-end department store. During the holidays, the company debuted an augmented reality iOS feature called “Virtual Christmas Tree,” which allowed customers to try out a variety of virtual Christmas trees on their phones. Customers were able to choose from a variety of ornaments, turn lights on and off, and purchase a tree directly from their smartphone or tablet in this exciting and engaging purchasing experience. As a result, customers spent more time with the John Lewis brand (an average of nearly two minutes of active play time on the app), allowing the company to treble its annual holiday conversion rates.
One example is virtual Christmas trees. There are a plethora of ways to redescribe the physical storefront if companies and merchants can rewire their thinking around online. They may reach new audiences, encourage customers to spend more time with them, and ultimately improve the shopping experience, resulting in increased sales and profitability, by adopting this new AR virtual paradigm.
Why should brands adopt augmented reality “try-on”?
The availability and widespread knowledge of 3D is a barrier that many brands and retailers encounter. A majority of businesses today have long lived in the 2D format, in the form of photographs and videos, and haven’t had the means or understanding to develop 3D experiences, but it’s something they urgently need to investigate.
Consider the virtual reality “try-on” solution for mobile platforms developed by the swimwear manufacturer Speedo (as well as in three of its UK stores). Customers were able to try on swimming goggles before purchasing them using facial recognition. Customers often have to try on goggles one at a time to pick a style that is comfortable. Due to the need to replace/repackage opened merchandise, the real try-on experience is also problematic for retailers. Visitors may virtually try on 35 different types of eyewear using AR, which empowers them by saving time and allowing them to make better purchasing decisions.
Speedo has joined the ranks of try-on tech devotees, a trend that is poised to disrupt online purchasing for numerous retailers. Retailers can dramatically improve the whole shopping experience and gain increased customer satisfaction by using this and other AR applications.
When it comes to AR, there are three aspects that companies and merchants should bear in mind:
1. Disruptive video commercials are being replaced.
For at least a decade, it was common knowledge that in order to effectively engage with customers, you needed to run a fairly disruptive video advertisement. I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of being in the middle of viewing a YouTube video when you’re suddenly interrupted by a video commercial that you can’t get out of. Unsurprisingly, this usually leads to an unpleasant experience for the customer. With augmented reality, users are willingly immersed in a virtual environment and are able to interact with and engage with a variety of virtual aspects.
There are numerous ways for brands to develop immersive shopping experiences in the virtual world in order to attract new audiences and drive revenue. The overall goal is to improve consumer involvement by providing not only a physical display but also a virtual or in-store experience. Take, for example, Ray-Ban, a high-end eyewear brand. Not only is the firm integrating virtual try-on features directly through Instagram, but it is also collaborating with Facebook to develop its first set of smart glasses. They collaborated to create “Ray-Ban Stories,” which allows users to take images and movies without having to take out their phones. Users can also use an app called Facebook View to take video and photographs and submit them to their social media accounts.
Other firms are also using augmented reality into their websites. Murus Art, an ecommerce portal for modern art, is one example. Visitors can picture paintings on their walls while exploring the website, which is a novel implementation of the try-on idea.
3. Using 3D and augmented reality to speed up ecommerce
The majority of retailers are still figuring out how to implement new technology and are grappling with expenses, among other issues. Creating 3D models of products, for example, might be costly due to the fact that the digital model must be created manually. However, with the advancement of photogrammetry technology — which entails taking hundreds of images of an object from various angles to create a virtual model — 3D modeling expenses may be drastically reduced, and a time-consuming process sped up.
Such models are intrinsically fascinating methods for buyers to visualize things, but when augmented reality (AR) is added — allowing customers to see products in their physical environment or on their bodies — the experience becomes much more immersive. It all boils down to training businesses so that they are aware of the steps they must take to integrate AR technology.
Increased consumer involvement with 3D and AR leads to higher shopping conversion rates in any business. Retailers can keep customers engaged in a manner that traditional shopping can’t, and probably never will, by deploying a good virtual experience. Because consumers are often devoted to their favorite companies, AR has the potential to have a large and beneficial long-term impact on that relationship.