Using AR for an online purchasing funnel
March 21st, 2023

Shopping is thriving online with e-commerce sales predicted to constitute over 20% of global total retail sales this year.

According to a recent report, as an increasing number of consumers habitually purchase through their devices, around 93% of consumers expect a digital purchasing experience to be either better or at least at least equivalent to an in-store experience.

Consequently, an increasing number of companies and brands are using augmented reality (AR) to enhance their existing e-commerce sites into potent and effective sales destinations, benefitting both retailers and customers.

Rather than e-commerce sites simply providing the opportunity to observe products online, AR can augment the experience by making it more akin to trying out products in the real world, albeit virtually, through an immersive experience as computer-generated display, text, sound, visuals and graphics augment the user’s real-world experience.

Through use of a smartphone camera, consumers have the opportunity to examine a digital replica of the product they are interested in, in their own space, thus tailoring and personalising their retail experience. From the retailer’s perspective, use of the technology should minimise returns and help convert more sales as it supports customers to make smart, quick purchase decisions.

Ideally, the consumer responds to the potential purchase in the same way that they would in-store, integrating the different stages of the buying journey and minimising the points at which a purchase could be abandoned throughout the process and combining the appeal of online and in-store shopping.

As an example, online art gallery Saatchi Art launched their Augmented Reality App, a web-based AR feature which enables potential customers to view more than 1 million works of art virtually, in their living space or on their wall, before purchase. The artwork can be viewed through AR on a 3D canvas at its approximate physical dimensions and they found that consumers who used the WebAR feature were four times more likely to buy.

Similarly, JLab designers of personal audio gear and technology products us AR to provide a virtual fitting room so that consumers can view themselves wearing the virtual products through their webcam or smartphone. They can toggle between different colours and products as often as they like prior to purchase.

As an AR commerce destination, brands are inviting customers to interact and engage with their products at their own convenience while maximising their own operational, marketing and sales potential.

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