Consumers are moving their purchases online. According eMarketeronline sales will account for 21% of global retail sales this year, with US online sales expected to exceed $1 trillion.
As more consumers turn to their devices to buy, they expect more from the online shopping experience. In fact, “93% of consumers expect a digital experience equal to or better than the in-store experience,” according to a recent Relevance report.
Augmented reality makes the e-commerce experience feel more like in-store retail, as consumers can get closer to the product to help with their buying decision. AR transforms the e-commerce experience from a simple destination to display products online into an immersive experience where users interact and try products virtually in the real world. Using the smartphone camera, augmented reality brings a physical dimension to e-commerce by giving consumers the ability to place and interact with a digital replica of the product in their physical space. This enables brands to provide consumers with a highly personal and intimate online shopping experience that aims to build shopper trust, increase conversions and reduce return rates.
Additionally, augmented reality-enabled product experiences transform the purchase funnel into a singular experience. Consumers who engage in AR commerce find themselves moving through all stages of the traditional funnel, from awareness and interest to consideration and purchase, as AR combines the benefits of shopping online with those of offline shopping experience into one. With web-based augmented reality (WebAR), all of this can be done in-browser with no app required and easily integrated as part of an existing e-commerce site.
Brands are already using Web AR to transform their customers’ online shopping experience. Leading online art gallery, Saatchi Art, has launched a web-based augmented reality feature called “View in a Room”, allowing customers to view more than a million works of art in their homes before purchasing. ‘buy online. Visitors to the mobile site can select the “Show in a Room” augmented reality feature to place the art on the walls of their own physical space before purchasing it online. According to Saatchi Art, consumers who purchased artwork using the “Show in my room” WebAR feature spent on average about 17% more than those who purchased without the use of WebAR. Additionally, they found that consumers who used WebAR functionality as part of their purchase journey were four times more likely to convert than those who did not.
This first-of-its-kind production-grade deployment, developed by AR design firm, Rock Paper Reality, was designed and architected for site-wide scalability. Each artwork is dynamically scaled based on artwork metadata and deployed in AR onto a 3D canvas with the approximate actual dimensions of the physical artwork. This integrated solution was made possible through the use of Niantic’s 8th Wall platform which offers a comprehensive set of tools for creating augmented reality on the web. A similar trial WebAR feature was later launched on Minted and Society6, the latter in partnership with Sherwin-Williams. Both experiences allowed customers to view products in their environment before purchasing.
Leading personal audio company, JLab, also uses 8th Wall technology to allow customers to virtually try audio products directly from the website to help with their purchasing decision. Developed by creative agency Scarlet Social, customers can see themselves wearing a variety of styles and products, including headphones and wireless headphones, before adding them to their cart. Customers access the WebAR trial experience by going directly to the “Fitting Room” page on JLab.com or by pressing the “Try-On Virtually” buttons found on the product detail page of select products sound. Once triggered, they see themselves wearing virtual replicas of earphones and headsets using a smartphone or computer web camera. They can then take a photo to compare how they look in various products before making a purchase.
More and more brands are leveraging augmented reality to turn their existing e-commerce sites into powerful AR commerce destinations. As consumers continue to digitally alter their shopping behaviors, augmented reality stands poised to transform these e-commerce experiences into an effective tool for retailers and consumers. The 8th Wall platform is uniquely positioned to transform existing e-commerce sites into powerful AR commerce destinations. Online retailers can use 8th wall to integrate AR and 3D directly into their site, display true-to-size virtual objects, add personalization and hotspots, and integrate existing systems and APIs into the AR experience.