Is Augmented Reality the Future Of eCommerce?

Is Augmented Reality the Future Of eCommerce?
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Augmented Reality and eCommerce

The future of eCommerce, augmented reality started to take part in our lives several years ago; mostly through games and funny Snapchat filters. Recent developments in this field and important collaborations of developers with famous brands signaled the future of AR to be very promising.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, it became one of the fastest-growing businesses, especially in the eCommerce area, and made its inevitable impact on our daily lives much quicker than the expectations of experts.

According to PwC’s Seeing Is Believing 2019 report, AR and VR combined had a $46.4 billion boost to GDP and the estimations reveal that VR and AR have the potential to boost GDP globally by 2030 by up to $1.5 trillion.

As it can be read from the figures, AR and VR are going to be irreplaceable parts of our lives in the near future and the benefits they can deliver will be richer and more attractive; and technological advances will create an improved user experience.

“As AR evolves, it will revolutionize our lives and will become as significant of a technology shift as the web or mobile was to society, changing how we view and interact with the world around us.”

Allan Cook, Deloitte Digital Reality Business Leader

There are many industries that can take their share of the benefits that AR provides and use it to become game-changers. Obviously, online retail is one of the first industries continually and effectively adapt itself to AR innovations.  

Looking further into online retail, how eCommerce businesses are incorporating AR is a key question to answer and we generalize it as:

  • Brands incorporating virtual try-on solutions 

  • Social media filters such as Snapchat and Instagram 

  • Preview placement for a better visual comprehension

  • Interactive user manuals of the products

Take Out Your Phone and Try It On

When it comes to how to implement AR in a business, the answer is clear: The sky's the limit!

From makeup to furniture, anything we used to purchase online without trying, and only trusting our gut feeling is about to be history, thanks to AR. Pioneers of beauty retailers such as Sephora and Ulta are turning to AR to help customers digitally test out hundreds of beauty products with thousands of shades to assist in buying decisions.  

According to Barclaycard Research,
30% of shoppers deliberately over-purchase and subsequently return unwanted items, while 19% admit to ordering multiple versions of the same item so they could make their minds up when products are delivered and tried out.

These results show that for retailers like Sephora where customers demand to “try and buy”, AR becomes a crucial bridge between the customer and the products whilst helping the retailer reduce their return rates and eventually eliminate plenty of costs.  

Luxury brands are supporters of AR virtual try-on technology too. Gucci, one of the most prestigious fashion houses,
sponsored Snapchat in June 2020 and adopted its lenses to allow customers to test how its sneakers look on their feet.

Consumers can try on Gucci’s Rhyton, Tennis 1977 and Screener shoes, and the ever-popular Gucci Ace. This provides an unparalleled online user experience as it enables customers to engage and familiarize themselves with the product and purchase them more confidently despite the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Studies also show that interacting with products that have AR experiences leads to a
94% higher conversion rate, as individuals can better assess them and feel connected with brands.

augmented reality fridge.jpg
A Great Way to Interact with AR: Social Media

Probably nobody can argue the way social media influences our daily routines, preferences, and behaviors, and Snapchat is using its powerful position to drive the change in AR shopping.

Snapchat Lenses now allow businesses to offer users real-time product and pricing updates, in addition to augmented reality try-on, and the ability to make purchases without leaving the Snapchat app. User experience is quite unique in terms of how many components of shopping can be completed all in one:

Search through different products, try on the one you like, and check out! It is an incredibly huge opportunity for shoppers as it eliminates many of the in-store shopping’s difficulties. This is also awesome for the brands because, with the help of AR lenses for shopping, they can achieve a marketing channel within a sales channel. What could be more thrilling than that? 

“It’s a complete reframing of consumer intent and the marketing funnel — driven by impulse, driven by the moment, driven by creative inspiration; media becomes the store.”

Salima Popatia, Senior Vice President, Global Consumer Acquisition and Retention at Estee Lauder Companies (ELC)

Lower Product Returns with Previews

The sky’s the limit when it comes to how to implement AR in a business and IKEA is another brand that takes user experience to the next level using AR. In 2017, IKEA partnered with Apple, and using Apple’s ARKit , they launched the IKEA Place app.

The IKEA Place app enabled the users to place the selected furniture anywhere in their surroundings and have an idea of how that product might look in reality. Although being very popular at that time, now this feature is no big surprise to existing AR users anymore.

However, the super exciting news is coming now: In April 2021,
in collaboration with SPACE10, an innovation lab by IKEA- IKEA Studio App was launched. Moving on from just adding virtual chairs and lamps to a room, SPACE10 says the goal here for IKEA is to help people design entire rooms using the LiDAR sensors in an iPhone. 


IKEA Studio lets you capture complete 3D room plans with measurements, including windows and doorways, and it detects your existing furniture and places white boxes on the plan where your current chairs, tables, and sofas reside.

Other new features include being able to interact with items, such as turning AR lamps on and off and placing items on top of each other, say a lamp on a sideboard for example. The app’s developers state that more advanced features such as using machine learning to recommend wall paint colors based on the selected furniture are on the way to enhance the user experience.

This is huge news because according to the Snapchat 2021 report, 56% of shoppers agree that AR gives them more confidence about product quality, and over half of the people want to use AR technology to assess products, allowing for a risk-free, “try before you buy feature” and this is what exactly IKEA studio app provides its users.

Also, nearly 3 in 4 customers say they’re willing to pay more for a product that promises the total transparency AR can provide, which the IKEA Studio app seems to fully provide the transparency customers are looking for.

AR Fully Complements eCommerce, Even in After-Sales

Up to now, we have mostly talked about the AR experience before making a purchase. However, AR tools are also available for after-purchase services such as user manuals for unboxing and installation and once again,
IKEA is ready to help its customers with its AssembleAR app.

This is an AR app that provides real-time instructions to follow along while assembling a new IKEA product. It utilizes the original diagrams and layouts of the paper IKEA manual but overlays them with animation and life-size references that simulate and clarify the self-assembly process.

This is a great innovation for those (probably many of us) who find the whole self-assembly process complicated and puzzling.

Mercedes is one of the companies preferring AR manuals. With the help of the “Ask Mercedes” app, the owner can click on the pop-up buttons on the screen when directed to the specific parts of the interior of the car such as the wheel or the control panel.

Clicking on any of these informative indicators enables the drivers to learn the functionalities of the most basic buttons to gain much more insight about their cars, and learn critical tips on how to upkeep the car’s performance through how-to videos or other digital content. 

Today, AR is a fascinating revolution for many industries including eCommerce and apparently it is going to be as well in the future. It is a redefining There are more to come and we will be sharing all the content you may want to keep up with. Don’t forget to check out
our blog for more quality insights!

Impressed by What You’ve Just Read? artlabs is Here to Help

It’s never too late to catch this latest AR Commerce trend. As artlabs, we offer the world’s simplest 3D and Augmented Reality solutions for businesses.

You can get in touch with our team of professionals and see how we can help you elevate your customers’ online shopping experiences.

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