Augmented Reality (AR) and what it means for e-commerce

It isn’t long when Augmented Reality seemed a far-fetched dream for techies. Every time we heard of augmented reality it sounded even more futuristic than the time before. And now we are at a stage where almost every week we are getting a new AR app or two. Be it Apple WWDC 2018, Microsoft’s Build 2018, Google I/O 2018, or any major tech conference in recent past, there was a clear and  notable mention of augmented reality and how it is the future. So, it’s no secret that we soon will be seeing AR almost everywhere. In fact, we already have seen it all around us with the sensational Pokemon Go. Now, don’t say that you haven’t caught one yourself.

The most significant move forward in recent times in the world of AR was made by Apple when they released their ARKit earlier this year, which was soon then followed by Microsoft launching their ARCore. Now while the impact of AR will be seen in every department, we are most excited by its implementation in the world of e-commerce and what it will mean for the already booming e-commerce world.

We start by addressing the underlying problem which despite the colossal growth of the modern e-commerce world keeps the brick-and-mortar retail stores the first preference of the shoppers in the market. And that is because the online stores provide great comfort, convenience, and at times economical options to the customers they still fail to provide the real or physical contact with the product, which is to be sold. As a result, more often than not the customers are seeing using one channel to search for a product and another one to complete the purchase.

An argument can be made in the favor of e-commerce store that they do provide assurance, guarantee, easy return policies, clear, and certified images and specs for every product on their platform. But somehow none of that can ever replace the actual feel and intimacy of trying the product first-hand, in a real environment. Customers still want to touch and feel the product they are purchasing whether it’s just a trunk or an expensive electronic device.

This is where augmented reality enters the game.

AR with all its technological capabilities brings realism to what was a virtual shopping experience till now. Known as Augmented Commerce aka A-Commerce, is the latest technological development bridging the gap between the online and offline sellers. By using AR for their business, retailers can now offer a lot more personalized and interactive shopping experience to the modern customer, increasing their satisfaction levels and certainly their loyalty towards your platform.

That being said, it does not mean that it is the end of the road for the brick-and-mortar stores. They still will be relevant and around for a long time and with platforms like Taglr opening new avenues for them to showcase and advertise their products to the local shoppers using technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics, they also can leverage the power of technology for their business gains.

Now let’s see how augmented reality is already changing the face of e-commerce and who are some of the early adopters of this latest technological advancements.

We start by looking at one of the biggest e-commerce players in the market Amazon. After the release of Apple’s ARkit, Amazon has added the augmented reality feature to their app which allows the users to see how the product will look at their home or at the workplace before making the purchase. Known as AR View, you can access the feature in your Amazon app by tapping the camera icon.

While this makes it easy for the users to decide on which furniture or kitchenware will suit their home, the application can be extended to a wide range of other categories as well. And going forward we surely are going to see Amazon extending the support to many other categories.

If this implementation is to be taken as an indication, we are going to see a lot of modern e-commerce players in the market adopting the same strategy for their business. And the more retailers adopt it, the better it will be for the end customers.

Now, while that was a use-case in the field of home appliances, furniture, and kitchenware, another glooming example of a fine adaptation of AR in the world of fashion and accessory is done by the popular sunglass brand Ray Ban. Perhaps the first name that comes to mind when we say sunglass, Ray Ban has enough pedigree in the market to make their products sell like hot cakes without much of marketing effort. However, that did not stop the brand from going one step ahead to better their offerings for their customers who aren’t A-list Hollywood celebrities.

Ray-Ban with their Virtual Try on the app allows the customers to develop their own virtual model using the advanced face mapping technology used by the app. You can now check yourself in any pair of glasses you like from different angles before making the purchase decision. So, if you, like me, find it embarrassing to go to a sunglass shop and try multiple glasses, before putting money down the table to get one for you, let technology work for you and save you from some embarrassment.

These are just two cases we have seen where augmented reality has really taken a giant leap forward in bettering the overall e-commerce experience for the customers. But these certainly aren’t the final ones and going forward we are going to see a lot of such implementations which not only will change the whole e-commerce world for good but also will eradicate any small doubt or question that has held you back from shopping online. So, if there is one technological development we want you to keep an eye on, it has to be the use of augmented reality in the world of e-commerce. ')}

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