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How are AR and VR Transforming Ecommerce

Headless Commerce

Do you recall the heights of popularity of the Pokemon Go game? Or, have you used any Instagram or Snapchat filter lately? Or tried identifying the perfect dresser through the IKEA application? If yes, then you're pretty familiar with Augmented Reality or AR. On the other hand, VR or Virtual Reality experiences are powered by head-mounted displays that enable interaction with a 3D environment and offer a feeling of physical and mental presence in the artificial world generated by the software. AR and VR technologies help business spaces seek new and innovative solutions to improve their consumers' buying experience.

Why Do Retailers Need to Choose AR and VR for the Ecommerce Space?

The integration of the current e-commerce stores with AR and VR can help business owners bring a more friendly, satisfying, and intuitive experience. These technologies can transform the way businesses function entirely.

Research by Statista suggests that the AR technology market is expected to reach $18 billion by 2023. Moreover, studies also reveal that the global consumer spending on embedded augmented reality mobile applications will reach $15.497 billion by 2022.

It has seen that a jaw-dropping 78.65% of shoppers abandon their carts before they complete a purchase. This indicates that retailers need to put in a lot of effort to motivate consumers to make the payment and purchase the items in their cart. AR and VR can serve as a medium to help retailers get closer to this goal.

We've also noticed heavy investments are being made into developing powerful, technologically advanced AR and VR products for the e-commerce space. Moreover, the rise of the global pandemic has raised the competition among online retailers, further highlighting the importance of capturing customer attention and the challenges that revolve around it.

The sea of choices that consumers have and the high customer service standards each brand brings have made modern shoppers more demanding. So, if retailers want to stay ahead of the curve – just good product photography won't be it. Innovation in the form of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) can be the heroes that change the e-commerce industry.

What Are Some of the Transformations AR and VR Have Brought About in the E-commerce Industry?

Here are the top three ways in which AR and VR are transforming the e-commerce industry:

Help Build Awareness

Getting products in the market is crucial for any business. And selling products is just as essential as exploring immersive technology to engage consumers through new forms of marketing and advertising strategies. Several e-commerce giants and start-ups are engaging consumers through virtual experiences. With the help of AR and VR, retailers can now:

  • Influence attitudes and behaviors through innovative marketing campaigns.

  • Let consumers virtually experience the benefits of the attributes your brand/product offers.

  • Build brand awareness by offering a virtual experience before consumers purchase the product.

Ease of Buying and Convenience

Comfort and efficiency have become crucial components of e-commerce. AR and VR bring substantial convenience to retailers by reducing the time spent searching for products and making payments. They also help people complete several tasks in shorter time frames.

Earlier, people used to go to physical stores and outlets to experience the product, but AR and VR are entirely changing it. Here's a quick look at how:

  • Creating virtual stores or showrooms to help customers explore the product range from the comfort of their houses.

  • Help customers get a first-hand idea of project features by providing a virtual landscape.

Imitate Real-Life Immersive Experience

One of the most rewarding aspects of AR and VR is to offer engaging, immersive experiences capable of simulating real life. For a long time, AR and VR recognized for their contribution to the gaming industry, but now they are offering retailers unique experiences by:

  • Helping consumers try products online through real-life interfaces and virtually try products.

  • They are assisting retailers in getting through the physical limitations and providing access to every product feature. In a way, it helps draw more customers, leading to higher conversions.

Cost Savings

Along with reducing time and providing consumers with convenience, AR and VR help decrease customer costs. Since customers get to visualize the products of their choice, the try before you buy part gets quite literal! Through AR and VR, customers can now:

  • Go through a catalog and make more informed decisions – just by putting on their AR headsets from their living rooms.

  • See exactly what they want from the comfort of their places rather than traveling to retail stores and going through product dimensions and descriptions.

AR and VR Use Cases

IKEA AR app helps consumers see if a specific piece of furniture fits their space. The application introduced by Sephora allows users to try makeup virtually. The Dior VR store helps consumers virtually browse through the brand's collection of lotions, soaps, etc. and then make a purchase online. Such experiences help companies cope up with the uncertainties that the pandemic has brought about. And believe us, these technology advancements are here to stay!

Here are a few more examples of how e-commerce platforms can use AR and VR:

  • AR-based store experience

  • AR-based app for store navigation

  • AR-based games for shopper engagement in-store

  • Augmented photoshoots for model diversity

  • Creating product tutorials

  • Virtual product trials

  • Virtual showrooms

  • VR shelf planning

  • VR product design

Parting Thoughts

AR and VR technologies speed up buying decisions and bring in promising ROIs. These technologies are no more the future technology; they are spreading across industries and making a massive difference in retailers' and consumers' lives. With the evolving technologies and 5G connectivity penetrating the market, we will experience refined and improved versions of the use cases soon. But right now, we can safely say that AR and VR technologies are essential for the growth and improvement of the e-commerce market space.

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