Mobile phones are such an integral part of our lives that they are already considered to be extensions of our bodies; as technology can be further incorporated into our lives without being invasive – it is a certainty that augmented reality offers opportunities to improve user experience beyond measure. Augmented Reality (AR) has been making news for some time now and the scope it brings for eCommerce is immense.

There has been a steady increase in the doorstep delivery option. This timeline displays a projection of the increase in online shoppers from 2014 to 2021. It is predicted that by 2021 there will be 2.14 billion online shoppers worldwide. 63% of customers are sure that augmented reality would buff their shopping experience. 22% would be less likely to visit traditional retail stores if AR would be available in online stores.

Digital Buyers worldwide projections

More than 50% of the users believe that images are more essential than text-based elements when it comes to online shopping, perfectly summing up the saying  “A picture is worth a thousand words”. With the advancement in technology, creating visual representations of merchandise has become easier and more cost-effective:

  • Digital photography allows you to create photographs of items that are magnificent at a fraction of the cost of conventional photography. Digital images have become so great that consumers are unable to tell that they are computer-generated. We can create these images even before the physical product is ready because they are computer-generated.
  • Interactive 3D allows you to deliver brand views from any perspective to your customers. When smartphone shoppers control the representation with their hands to see the item from all angles, this creates a completely immersive shopping experience. It also enhances the performance of the site: websites with interactive 3D have observed increased customer engagement.

Shoppers, charmed by the idea of shopping at the comfort of their sofas, are now advancing to the stage where AR apps let them visualize products in their homes. This helps them experience the size and features of products in real space! Customization has become a key factor in popularizing this approach, where many retailers give customers the option to change the colour as well as other product features which lets them choose accordingly. 

Home furnishings giant IKEA’s IKEA Place AR app is a case in point here. The app helps shoppers visualize how their furniture and other decorative pieces will look inside their living rooms. Shoppers can then easily change products, alter product attributes such as size and colour, and see how different furniture items and the room decor complement each other.

The AR app from Sephora, for example, allows users to upload images of their faces. They can then virtually apply various makeup and skincare products to the images, enabling them to visualize how the makeup would look on their faces.

Given AR’s wealth of benefits, online retailers should understand and invest in the immersive consumer experience. It’s as clear as day that any online retailer who wishes to create a mark in the current times has to sit in the lap of AR-based eCommerce. With increasing global customer purchasing power, the proliferation of social media users, and continually evolving infrastructure and technology, eCommerce’s future in 2019 and beyond is as vibrant as ever.



Video Credits: IKEA