How Does Augmented Reality(AR) Boost Ecommerce Sales and CX?

3D and Augmented Reality are no longer technologies of the future. They are here now, not just for their WOW factor but their ability to solve key problems

How Does Augmented Reality(AR) Boost Ecommerce Sales and CX?

It’s no secret that Augmented Reality has become one of the most disruptive technologies out there. Moreover, it’s no longer a speculation or a technology of the future. Today, AR is seeing massive adoption for being an extremely immersive way to bring virtual elements to our everyday interactions.

Especially, if we look at the online retail and ecommerce ecosystem. Augmented reality is revolutionising how shoppers discover, compare and buy products.

That said, everyone in the industry is asking the same questions:

Does augmented reality actually increase e-commerce sales?

Is offering an AR-enabled online shopping experience worth the effort?

If you’re an online retail or ecommerce business owner, we bet you’re wondering the same. Besides, creating an AR backed browsing experience doesn’t involve as much cash or effort as you think. On the contrary, it is quite simple and cost-effective.

IKEA's popular Place app allows shopper to 'place' furniture in their own space

But first, what exactly is augmented reality commerce?

By definition, Augmented Reality helps you impose virtual or computer generated objects in your real environment. This real environment could be your home, your office or a random space.

In ecommerce, this translates to enabling an online shopping experience where shoppers can visualise or even try-out your products at home- like they would at a store.

Moreover, you might think that AR can only be offered through a code-heavy app or reality glasses (think: Google Glass). However, that’s not the case anymore.

Today, it’s possible to let customers experience augmented reality through any device on any browser.

If you’re curious as to how AR works or want to implement an immersive augmented reality experience on your own website or app, please feel free to get in touch with us for a quick and engaging demo.

How does Augmented Reality increase ecommerce sales and CX?

Here’s the thing: brands like Ray-Ban, IKEA, Converse, Sephora, Warby Parker and Houzz are all leading examples of how augmented reality boosts sales and customer engagement.

By allowing online shoppers to visualise their products, these brands have tried and tested it out for the rest of us. In fact, interior design firm, Houzz saw more than 2 million people use the “View in My Room” feature in the process of making a purchase and spend 3 times longer on the app.

Warby Parker's virtual try-on app, lets shoppers try on glasses before buying
converse-sampler app-uses-AR
Comparing shoes on the Sampler app by Converse
Target's app with the 'See It In Your Space' feature

All of this begs the question:

How (or rather why) does augmented reality impact ecommerce sales?

Let’s take a look.

1. Delivers an in-store shopping experience at home

There’s a reason why eCommerce websites see an average of 2-3% conversion rate compared to brick-and-mortars that see 20-40% conversion rates. Now, AR-enabled shopping brings that same in-store experience to an online store.

Let’s say, you have an online clothing apparel store/site. Shoppers can then point their smartphone (or even desktop) camera at themselves and view the clothing selected on their own body. Now the shopper can move the camera around, rotate their own body and the virtual product will move in real-time. In short, as if they were really wearing it.

This also opens the door to them exploring different sizes or color variants of the same product.

Allowing customers to view and interact with products in such a realistic way-without them having to stand in the changing room queue- is on the best ways to drive that conversion.

2. AR enables faster and easier decision making

Although ecommerce has been growing at a rapid pace in the past decade, e-sales still account for 14-16% of total retail sales. Rest is all offline.

For ecommerce stores, the challenge has always been getting products into the hands of customers in a way that helps answer key questions, minimizes indecision and ultimately, gets customers to purchase more. Especially when we talk about bigger or more expensive products.

Think about the process of buying furniture online for a second. Typically, you would prefer to visit a brick-and-mortar to gauge the size, style and colour before making a big purchase.

With augmented reality, these types of purchase decisions become ten-fold easier as shoppers can place the furniture in their room and get answers to their hesitations.

Questions like, “will this sofa fit in the space I have?“,  “will it even match my interior?” And much more.

3. AR reduces return rates by removing product uncertainties

Why do ecommerce sites see so many product returns and exchanges from customers? In most cases, the style, size, fit or material of the product ordered does not match what they were looking for. At the end of the day, it all boils down to the expectation the customer has from the product.

In an online store supporting augmented reality, site owners can now set the right product expectations. By allowing customers to understand and gauge products accurately, one can expect them to pick what they want the first time itself. This kind of certainty removes the possibilities of wrong size, color or style, thus reducing return rates considerably.

4. AR-enabled shopping creates higher engagement rates and time spent

There’s no doubt that increasing engagement rates and building customer loyalty lies at the core of any ecommerce brand’s growth.

On one hand, there’s borderline-boring product images which only create scrolling fatigue. On the other hand, with augmented reality enabled in your online store, you can expect shoppers to interact and engage with your products for much longer.

In fact, 73% of shoppers have reported high levels of satisfaction after AR commerce experiences. And it’s not rocket science. As we get a chance to actually visualise and try out products, it’s natural for us to prefer these shopping experiences over the ones we have been used to.

Brands and businesses get a chance to stand out among cookie-cutter ecommerce sites that honestly look the same to the end consumer. Customers love the experience, resulting in higher engagement and profits. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Bottom Line

Ecommerce is a competitive and cutthroat space. Online retailers that stay ahead of the curve are the ones who are always on the lookout for new and improved ways to increase their bottom lines. At the end of the day, augmented reality provides one such amazing opportunity for those who adopt it.

If you’re looking to explore how you can offer AR-enabled shopping experiences on your own website or app, schedule a quick demo here to get access to our easy-to-use platform.

Raya Mehri

Raya Mehri

Designhubz Growth Manager