Augmented Reality (AR) Shopping: A Glimpse into the Future of Ecommerce | The Future of Ecommerce?

Augmented Reality (AR) Shopping: A Glimpse into the Future of Ecommerce | The Future of Ecommerce?

Help your customers visualize and interact with your products online; offer unique shopping experiences that boost conversions and sales.

Generating traffic and interacting with customers in ecommerce is becoming increasingly competitive. Moreover, in its nascent form, online shopping lacks a sensory product experience compared to brick-and-mortar shopping. This makes online shopping a bit impersonal and eventually impacts conversions.

To stay ahead of the competition, ecommerce merchants today clearly want: to be perceived as better than the competition; to engage with customers in maximum ways, including visualization; and, finally, they want data to drive future business decisions and accelerate growth.

Augmented reality is one such technology redefining how businesses sell online. Though it’s been around for a while, recent developments have helped implement it in mainstream ecommerce.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality (AR) incorporates computer-generated input with real-world surroundings. AR applications can include sound, video, graphics, GPS overlays, etc., accessible through devices like smartphones and laptops or headsets. They can engage with the physical world in real-time and are responsive to changes in the surrounding environs.

Per a study, AR boosted buyer confidence, with 71% of shoppers saying they would shop more often if AR were used on a site and 61% of consumers expressing a preference for retailers offering AR experiences. In addition, top brands implementing 3D technologies like AR reported a 66% increase in user engagement and a 40% increase in conversion rates.

This article will help you get up to speed on how Augmented Reality is used and its role in enhancing customer satisfaction and boosting your online sales.

The three basic types in which AR can be implemented in your online stores include:

Marker-Based Augmented Reality

It relies on specific markers such as QR codes, logos, or item packaging to trigger the experience. The experience is linked to the marker image. It’s usually viewable on top of the marker and moves with the marker.

Marker-based AR is an excellent way to connect with your customers post-purchase. For example, once your customers receive the product, they scan a QR code on the packaging and activate the experience - usually fun and interactive - which provides customer insights and encourages future purchases.

Markerless Augmented Reality

Users can access this experience by clicking a website link or using an app. Markerless AR processes the surrounding environment and places the experience as per the geometry, usually leveraging a flat surface. For example, Warby Parker, a glasses retailer, has a program that lets customers virtually try-out glasses and see how they look before purchasing one. 

Superimposition-Based Augmented Reality

The original view of an item is partially or fully covered by an augmented view. Object recognition is vital, as the technology has to initially identify the original object and then replace it. 

For example, ecommerce merchants can leverage this type of AR to show their customers how a furniture item would look in their house. On accessing the link or app and pointing a camera at the desired location of the object being purchased, the furniture overlay appears on their screen, helping them decide based on the placement and look.

Benefits of AR

From furniture to fashion and lifestyle, leading brands including Ikea, Lego, Sephora Armani, Alibaba, Adobe, etc., have successfully used AR to engage with customers on their ecommerce platforms.


Here are some of the top benefits of introducing AR on your ecommerce website:

  • Personalized Experience: Personalization can help you enhance your customer’s experience and influence conversion rate. E.g., a customer can try different lipstick shades and select the most suitable color using AR. Thus AR can enhance customer satisfaction based on personal satisfaction.
  • Customer Interaction and Immersive Experience: One of the most significant limitations of online shopping is that customers cannot touch the product they want to purchase. You can bridge this gap by offering an AR experience on your eCommerce store with virtual try-on, 3d visualizations, and product demos for a more immersive product experience.

    Implementing AR on your ecommerce site enables your customers to get a life-like feel of your product, similar to how they would engage with it in the real world. Thus integrating the real world with the virtual one on the live camera feed supports your customers in making better purchase decisions.

    Experiential marketing is excellent for driving sales through product and brand interaction and helps your customers make satisfying purchase decisions.
  • Conversion Rates: With AR, your customers will significantly increase their average time on your page and qualitatively engage with your products, thus improving the potential for conversions and more sales. The better the product interaction, the more likely your users will convert and purchase.

    AR thus offers you opportunities to innovate and offer unique product experiences that boost conversion rates.
  • Accessibility: As AR applications can be accessed from smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc., your customers have complete control of their purchase experience wherever they are. This reassures them of their ability to purchase products that meet their expectations and needs, regardless of location.
  • Lower Return Rates: High return rates can cost your business growth dearly because of the costs involved in facilitating returns. As per a study by UPS, 27% of shoppers returned goods for unknown reasons.

    The problem could be that you have not described the product well on your product page, or your customer has not understood the product.

    Offering a chance to virtually “try before buy” can give shoppers more clarity if they want to purchase an item or not, thereby reducing return rates. In addition, helping your customers experience the product can help them choose the right product that matches their needs.
  • Business Decisions: AR provides valuable customer insights, including user behavior, dwell time, conversion rates, and related metrics that can help you make calculated business decisions to grow your business.

To Conclude

Integrating technology with the demands of your ecommerce store will help you connect with your customers and enhance their shopping experience. But it may raise privacy concerns. Therefore, be sure to work with the right partner to implement any new technology to your ecommerce website successfully.


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