E-commerce companies constantly look for new and innovative ways to engage with their customers and keep them coming back. In the following article, you will find out how to use AR and VR for eCommerce to improve your customers’ experience and increase your sales.
With recent headlines of brands like Peloton tumbling in the market after seeing record-breaking adoption in the pandemic, companies are on high alert to obtain and keep customers.
Several technologies and tools have been introduced to help e-commerce brands enhance customer experiences, from virtual AI chatbots that help customers communicate with brands anytime to payment systems that allow buyers to spread the cost of purchases out over time.
One of the most exciting tools that e-commerce brands can capitalize on today to enhance customer experiences is Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR).
Introducing Augmented and Virtual Reality
Nowadays, AR and VR have become popular technologies that can be used for this purpose. AR allows customers to see how products will look in their homes before purchasing them, while VR can create an immersive shopping experience that makes it feel like the customer is actually in the store.
Did you know that there are companies that can 3D print replica homes of any size? And some that can create a virtual reality tour of your house for potential buyers?
These are just a couple of examples of how e-commerce companies use augmented reality and virtual reality to engage their customers and boost sales.
AR and VR: learn how e-commerce companies use them to improve Customer Experience (CX).
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience and can be accessed using a computer, headset, and other equipment. VR allows users to interact with digital content in a three-dimensional (3D) environment. This technology can be used for gaming, education, marketing, and other purposes.
VR isn’t a new technology, it has been around for several decades. But it has become more prevalent due to advances in technology. VR headsets provide an immersive experience by stimulating the user’s senses of sight, sound, and touch.
The user’s movements are tracked to provide a realistic experience. VR can transport users to different environments and allow them to interact with digital content naturally. This technology can revolutionize many industries, such as healthcare, education, retail, and entertainment.
Significance Of Virtual Reality For E-Commerce Stores
Virtual reality (VR) is one of the latest trends in e-commerce, and it shows promise for businesses looking to improve the online shopping experience for their customers. VR allows shoppers to immerse themselves in a digital environment that simulates the look and feel of a real-life store, complete with product demonstrations, interactive displays, and more.
This can be a powerful tool for businesses that want to give their customers a taste of what they can expect from their products and services. VR also has the potential to revolutionize the way businesses interact with their customers, providing a more personal and engaging experience that can boost sales and customer loyalty. As VR technology develops, we will likely see more e-commerce businesses embracing this innovative new platform.
A few stats for VR to keep in mind in 2022:
- There are reportedly more than 171M VR users worldwide. (Source)
- 70% of those who own VR headsets consumers have purchased a game on it. (Source)
- The VR worldwide market share will reportedly be worth $20.9 billion by 2025. (Source)
- The number of AR users in the US is projected to reach 95.1 million by 2022. (Source)
- 78% of Americans have expressed familiarity with VR technology now. (Source)
- The US and China are the two leading investors in VR. (Source)
- The most significant players in the current VR market include Sony, Google, Samsung Electronics, Microsoft, HTC, and Oculus. (Source)
Benefits of Using VR for E-Commerce
Here are a few benefits that companies gain from using VR:
- Virtual showroom creation
- Attract new customers
- Improved conversions
Virtual showroom creation
For brands that don’t have a physical retail location and have no plans of obtaining one, a virtual showroom can help expand visibility.
VR can give buyers an immersed experience in an actual store, looking at physical items. They can pick up, toggle, and explore multiple items with ease much faster than they would walk around in an actual store.
VR product use is growing in popularity with both brands and consumers. Lowes has been using this technology for years and has successfully shown customers how products would look in her store. From previewing new color patterns to transforming backyard landscapes, Lowes can offer shoppers possibilities of new additions and give them a realistic experience of what changes could look like.
Attract new customers
Not every e-commerce brand will create VR experiences for customers, and not every consumer will want to shop using VR. It creates an opportunity for both. It will create a competitive differentiator for those e-commerce brands that only can rely on their website as the only channel to get a detailed view of items.
E-commerce brands that offer VR experiences will offer unique shopping experiences presented to innovative shoppers. Unfortunately, there aren’t a considerable amount of e-commerce stores that offer VR experiences, so those shoppers who are looking for them will have a higher chance of finding a brand that delivers that experience versus just a traditional website.
VR for eCommerce FAQ
What VR requires from customers?
What VR requires from e-commerce brands?
What Is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality (AR) is a digital innovation that offers a direct or indirect vision of a physical, real-world environment whose objects are “augmented” by computer-crafted sensory input, such as audio, video, visuals, or GPS information. It is associated with a more general concept known as mediated reality, in which an idea of reality is altered (possibly even pared rather than augmented) by a computer.
Consequently, technology functions by improving one’s current perception of reality. On the other hand, virtual reality substitutes the real world with a simulated one.
AR applications can be broadly divided into two categories: marker-based and markerless. Marker-based AR uses specific visual markers to trigger the display of AR content. This AR can be done either by using an image recognition algorithm or by tracking fiducial tags that have been placed in the environment ahead of time.
On the other hand, Markerless AR tracks features in the environment and uses them as reference points for displaying AR content.
A few AR stats to keep in mind in 2022:
- By 2024 there is a projected 1.7 billion mobile augmented reality (AR) users worldwide. (Source)
- The increase in users from 2015 to 2024 will be a rise of 2024, an increase of 1.5 billion from 200 million. (Source)
- There may be an estimated 1.1 billion AR users worldwide in 2022. (Source)
- 94 million AR and VR headsets are expected to be shipped to customers worldwide in 2022. (Source)
- 52% of retailers say they’re not ready to integrate AR into their retail. (Source)
- 71% of consumers say if they used AR, they would shop more frequently. (Source)
- 61% of consumers have expressed that they prefer retailers with AR experiences. (Source)
- 40% of consumers have said they would pay more for a product that they could customize in AR. (Source)
Benefits of Using AR for E-Commerce
Here are a few benefits that companies gain from using AR:
- Increased engagement and reach
- Better buying experiences
- Reduce returns and exchanges
Increased engagement and reach
AR is interactive, so users are engaged by default, which is notoriously challenging for brands. The more engaged a user is and has a positive experience, the higher chance they will purchase.
A key for brands to gain loyalty from customers is to create memorable experiences while they shop, browse, or communicate.
Better buying experiences
AR goes beyond images and short video clips and gives customers a near in-person view of products.
Because of the 3D view that AR offers, customers benefit from seeing how a product could look if purchased. For example, a shopper could hold a virtual version of a shoe they evaluate purchasing. They can virtually hold the item, spin it, look at it from every direction, and get all of its specifications.
Reduce returns and exchanges
When buyers have trust and confidence, they are more likely to keep their buy items. Showing them what they are getting before they purchase some of the fears buyers typically offer when visiting e-commerce stores.
Critical information exposed before the purchase reduces the chances a buyer is purchasing something they will return or exchange later. In addition, this saves e-commerce companies on shipping and restocking costs.
AR for eCommerce FAQ
What AR requires from customers?
What AR requires from e-commerce brands?
7 Ways E-Commerce Companies Are Using AR & VR
When it comes to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), businesses are only just starting to scratch the surface of what’s possible. From retail experiences that blur the lines between online and offline shopping to training simulations that help employees learn new skills, AR and VR prove their worth for companies of all sizes.
Here are seven ways businesses use AR and VR to enhance their operations:
Quick Product Releases
Traditionally, launching a new product has been lengthy and expensive. Prototypes need to be created, tested, and tweaked before being ready for mass production. Augmented reality can help streamline this process by allowing companies to design and test products without physical prototypes.
AR can also be used to create virtual try-on, so customers can see how a product looks on them before they make a purchase. This could save e-commerce companies time and money by eliminating the need for returns due to incorrect size or style choices.
Overall, augmented reality has the potential to launch products quicker and with fewer resources. This could revolutionize how e-commerce companies do business and provide a significant competitive advantage.
Improved Safety & Compliance Efforts
AR can equip employees with advanced features like X-ray vision, heat-sensing abilities, and faster access to experts. This allows employees to work more safely and efficiently and helps companies to avoid potential compliance issues.
In addition, AR can be used to train employees on new procedures or protocols, ensuring that they are aware of all the latest company policies. As a result, AR is an essential tool for e-commerce companies looking to improve their safety and compliance efforts.
AR and VR provide e-commerce companies with better communication by giving employees physical representation in meetings, creating immersive experiences, and engaging employees. VR creates an immersive experience that can beat any video call for happy and engaged employees.
VR is famous for creating immersive experiences that can beat any video call, making it the final puzzle piece to creating a truly digital workplace. Thanks to these cutting-edge technologies, e-commerce companies can ensure that their employees are constantly engaged in work communications.
Hands-On Training For Workers
VR offers an active experience that enables individuals to influence the atmosphere in front of them and execute specific activities. When staff discovers that a new task involves too much risk or is challenging to reproduce, VR can provide a solution.
This can be useful for training workers to handle and package products without damaging them for eCommerce companies. Additionally, it can show workers how to use specific machinery without danger. Overall, VR provides a way for e-commerce companies to save time and money by offering hands-on training that is safe and effective.
Innovative 3D Design
AR and VR are transforming 3D Design, particularly for e-commerce companies. With AR, designers can quickly create models and view them in VR to better understand the scale of a space and detect when changes are necessary.
This technology allows us to take a more detailed model to create working drawings and view it immediately in VR. This way, we can review material changes, how sunlight moves through the space, and the overall feeling of an area before making final decisions. In other words, AR and VR are providing e-commerce companies with a more efficient and effective way to design their products.
AR and VR are providing e-commerce companies with improved manufacturing capabilities in some ways. For example, warehouse floor managers and mechanical technicians can use AR and VR to scan QR codes and NFC tags that provide real-time health and performance statistics for the machines they’re working on.
This helps ensure that machines are operating at peak efficiency while minimizing downtime. In addition, AR and VR can also be used for training purposes, allowing new employees to quickly gain insight into the ins and outs of the manufacturing process without putting any actual machines at risk.
VR and AR are two of the technologies that are rapidly changing the e-commerce landscape. From marketing to operations, businesses can provide potential customers with a fully immersive experience of their products or services with VR. Customers can “try before they buy” and get a sense of what it would be like to use or purchase a particular item.
On the other hand, AR allows businesses to superimpose digital information and images onto the real world. This can provide customers with additional information about products or enhance the shopping experience. These technologies are already being used by some of the biggest names in e-commerce, and it’s only a matter of time before they reach the wider market.
As e-commerce companies strive to create a more personal and engaging customer experience, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are becoming more popular methods for doing so.
Both AR and VR allow customers to interact with digital products in a simulated or real-life setting, resulting in a more immersive shopping experience. Retailers are already using these technologies to significant effect; some notable examples include IKEA’s Place app, Sephora’s Virtual Artist, and Amazon’s Look Inside feature.
Data is a critical component in making AR and VR efforts successful. Data insights can help brands make smarter strategic decisions on how VR and AR are introduced to customers.
E-commerce companies are starting to see augmented reality and virtual reality value. We can expect to see more innovative uses of these technologies in the future.
So what do you think about AR and VR? Have you had a good or bad experience with them?
Let us know in the comments.