According to Business Insider Intelligence’s “The Mobile AR Opportunity in Retail Report,” consumers expect retailers to offer an augmented reality (AR) shopping experience. It has also been proven that retailers who want to retain customers and be seen as innovative must use digital technologies as a touchpoint in the customer buying journey.
AR is now more important than ever in a brand’s marketing and ecommerce strategy. The rise of COVID-19 health concerns has changed normal shopping habits. Consumers are increasingly wary of physically touching products, so retailers can help them relax by allowing them to preview goods digitally via AR. However, many brands are still unsure how to create virtual and interactive content.
Brands and retailers should keep in mind three things when using AR:
1. Reinventing the “store of the future” with social commerce
Brands can use immersive shopping experiences to reach new customers and increase sales in a virtual world. The overall goal is to increase consumer engagement by providing both a physical and virtual display. Consider the premium eyewear brand Ray-Ban. The company has partnered with Facebook to release its first pair of smart glasses, as well as virtual try-on features directly through Instagram. Together, they created “Ray-Ban Stories,” allowing users to take photos and videos without removing their phones. It also allows users to capture video and images and upload them to Facebook using the Facebook View app.
Other brands are integrating AR directly into their websites. As an e-commerce site for contemporary art, Murus Art. Visitors to its website can see paintings on their walls, a novel application of the try-on principle.
2. Replacing obnoxious video ads
That you had to launch a somewhat disruptive video ad to effectively engage consumers seemed gospel for a decade. We are sure you’ve all been jarred from a YouTube video by an invasive video ad that you couldn’t escape. Unsurprisingly, this usually results in a bad consumer experience. With AR, consumers are willingly engaged in a virtual environment with interactive and engaging virtual elements.
3. Accelerating ecommerce with 3D and AR
Most retailers are still adjusting to new technology and are struggling with costs, among other issues. For example, manually creating 3D models of products can be costly. To build a virtual model, photogrammetry uses hundreds of photos of a product from various angles. This could significantly reduce 3D modelling costs and speed up a lengthy process.
With AR, customers can virtually see products in their own environment or on their bodies, creating a much more immersive experience for customers to visualize products. We need to educate retailers on how to implement AR technology.
Consumer engagement with 3D and AR increases shopping conversion rates, regardless of industry. Engaging consumers in a way traditional shopping cannot and will not. As a result, AR can have a long-term impact on consumer brand loyalty.