what is augmented reality AR

What is Augmented Reality & Why Is It Important

What if one day the world we perceive is not enough for us? As humans, our desire to see beyond what we already have has brought so many innovations and technological advancements. And one day, we found a way to create everything we wanted to see in real life with computers and incorporate them into our environment. This happened thanks to augmented reality, but you may be wondering, what is augmented reality exactly?

AR, which is becoming a shining star with the increasing interest in the metaverse trend every day, is certain to be a significant factor in many industries, from entertainment to online shopping. Of course, in order to keep up with all these developments, it is necessary to understand what augmented reality really is, its true nature, and what it promises. 

So how about turning this into a funny game with “WH” questions? You can find the simple questions below in the following paragraphs, which are short and concise so that they will not bore you. And of course, they contain enough information to ensure that you are familiar with the terms and latest use cases.

If you think you already have enough expertise in this area, it wouldn’t hurt to take a few moments, test your knowledge, and enjoy a little memory refresh.

what is augmented reality AR

We can start with the simplest but maybe the most fundamental question:

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is the integration of virtual data produced in the computer environment into the real world in a way that we can perceive with our sense organs. The data produced in the virtual environment such as images, animations, 3D models, videos, graphics are transferred to the real world in real-time.

Supporting the data we perceive with enriching elements such as depth and viewing objects from different angles make it easier to understand how the objects actually look in our 3D world.

It is believed that the first AR experience was developed in 1968 at Harvard when computer scientist Ivan Sutherland created a special head-mounted AR display system, paving the way for AR wearables and digital display technologies. Of course, a lot has changed since those days.

Today, working in harmony with smart devices such as mobile phones, AR takes the user experience to a whole new level in every area it touches by adding a new dimension. Although it was mostly associated with the entertainment industry at first, it has already started to enter the radar of different sectors as its eCommerce potential is also discovered by big global brands.

what is augmented reality AR

What is the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality?

This question is important in order to understand what augmented reality is not before trying to understand what it is.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are different concepts that are often confused with each other. In VR, the user is involved in a completely new virtual world through supporting hardware like headsets.

AR, on the other hand, integrates virtual elements into the real world, allowing users to continue interacting with their current environment. Take a look at this short video clip from Black Mirror, in which they talk about AR as “the layers on top of reality.”:

Will there be a winner in the presumed contention of these two popular technologies? Augmented reality and virtual reality are different technologies that cater to different needs. Rather than being two rivals, they complement each other and help the overall development of display technologies.

The fact that they have strengths and weaknesses relative to each other does not necessarily put these two shining technologies in unnecessary competition. On the contrary, an alternative where AR and VR work in harmony may be the winner of this extended reality race.

How does augmented reality affect eCommerce?

In just a few seconds before you read the title above, countless customers have already purchased a product they need online. It is obvious that the rise of different digital solutions has increased with the consolidation of eCommerce. And brands, big or small, do not ignore the functionality and creativity offered by AR.

Augmented reality, which enriches our real-world experiences, aims to have the same effect on the customer experience that was once trapped in same-old traditional methods.

The exponential increase in access to smart devices also opens the door to a much more practical and secure shopping experience for customers.

what is augmented reality AR

Maybe the numbers can help us better understand what augmented reality means for eCommerce. There are 100 million users using AR in their shopping experience, according to Snap. And 94% of this audience says they will benefit from technologies like AR next year as well. Plus, using augmented reality as an eCommerce enhancer is proven to boost the most important online shopping metrics like conversion rates and average order value. Amazing, right?

Which industries prefer augmented reality solutions?

We know brands don’t use AR just so we can take funny photos with a couple of filters now and then. They want to increase their brand awareness and eventually sales. AR repeatedly underlines the fact that it is not just a means of entertainment and can become a cornerstone of any industry.

In the eCommerce area, every brand that chooses AR as a companion stands one step closer to its customers. 

what is augmented reality AR

Fashion

Both customers and brands dream of a shopping experience beyond borders and limitations. The fitting rooms that AR brought to our homes, remove the question marks of customers who are much more demanding than before with virtual try-on opportunities.

Cosmetics

The cosmetic industry, which does not allow product returns due to hygiene reasons, eliminates this disadvantage with AR. Thanks to the virtual try-on feature, brands can make the customers try countless colors and shades now from their front cameras.

Is that concealer going to match your skin tone? Now, instead of trying it on your wrist or neck at stores, you can view the product directly on your face. (And to be honest, technology owes us every second that it does not give the opportunity to experience perfumes in online shopping!)

Furniture

Tell us which one would you prefer: Entering IKEA and not being able to leave the store without going all the way and finding your way to exit, or bringing the product you want to see in the middle of your room within seconds?

Measuring size and depth play a decisive role, especially when purchasing furniture. An armchair that looks great in the store or on a website with its 2D product image may not match the colors of your living room, it may even not fit in properly.

Using AR to shop online helps you eliminate all these chances of dissatisfaction in the first place. Turn on your smart device, place the armchair wherever you want. All that’s left is to sit down and watch the magic happen right in front of your eyes. 

Education

Technology is always doing its part for Gen-Zers. The dynamic and AR-based solutions preferred in the field of education support the learning adventure of children with high-level visual experiences. At the same time, the spread of the AR trend for products that appeal to children makes the work of parents much easier, especially when it comes to buying toys.

what is augmented reality AR

Banking, real estate, health, tourism… It is possible to extend this list as long as we want. Every industry where user experience is at the center is positioned as a new category for AR. So, is augmented reality customer-friendly or brand-friendly? It’s just a win-win situation that customers who think twice now before making any purchase make the right choice and brands avoid massive losses caused by product returns.

Why should I choose augmented reality solutions for my business?

In the age of technology, your customers demand better and newer experiences every minute. Give them what they want with the power of augmented reality and increase your brand loyalty and awareness at the same time. With a better user experience, you get more satisfied customers. Therefore, the brands that implement AR into their business models make great use of word-of-mouth marketing, as well.

More confident customers = Fewer returns.

Returns constitute a 550 billion problem worldwide, according to Snap Inc’s report, AR can cause up to a 25% reduction in returns. Unnecessary cheap is expensive, and customers are certainly aware of that.

Draw attention to your brand with your innovative identity. Other brands can work on their social media campaigns, but using self-promotional AR can be much more effective to differentiate your business among thousands of others. Don’t underestimate the power of visualization and enable your customers to take full advantage.

When should I start considering augmented reality solutions for my business?

Right now! Today, many brands are looking for new ways to leverage AR display and virtual try-on solutions. It doesn’t hurt to join an excited crowd when it comes to innovation. To jump on this trend, you can contact our professional team today and open the door to new experiences for both your brand and your customers.