4 Ways AR for eCommerce Increases Psychological Ownership of Products

Shopper using AR for eCommerce to see virtual kitchen items in her home

Online shopping skyrocketed in the past year. But the convenience of eCommerce comes with several potential disadvantages for both shoppers and shop owners. That’s where augmented reality steps in. Augmented reality for eCommerce can be an effective tool for redesigning the online shopping experience to better replace in-store experiences. Let’s take a look at what’s missing and what augmented reality can bring back to the shopping experience.

What Are Shoppers Missing From Their Favorite Brick-and-Mortar Stores?

With online shopping, certain in-person sales tactics are largely erased, such as: 

  • Letting customers physically handle items and try on products for the first time
  • Having conversations with your customers that highlight how products work and how they can enhance customers' lives
  • Standing out from nearby competitors

These tactics play a major role in building psychological ownership, which gives shoppers subconscious thoughts of already owning the product. But augmented reality— which lets shoppers see products at scale and move 3D representations of them around in their own homes — ticks this retail psychology box. This innovative technology showcases everything your products have to offer by letting customers interact with them through their mobile devices, which moves them closer to psychological ownership.

61 percent of customers surveyed indicated that they prefer to shop from brands that offer some form of augmented reality experiences, and that's good news for the eCommerce industry. This allows for real-time product interaction through 3D models. So adding this type of technology is an effective move for any eCommerce shop owner. Here are four specific ways AR for eCommerce can increase psychological ownership and replace in-person sales tactics! 

1. Replace the Psychological Appeal of Handling Products in Stores

'Real-life' shopping feels more conducive to creating a psychological sense of ownership for customers than online shopping. Traditional customers like being able to physically reach out, pick up, and handle an item that stood out. This is often the first step in thinking about what owning the product might be like. Stores have thousands of different products, but customers usually do not feel a strong connection to any particular item until they touch and handle it, which creates a subconscious sense that the item is already theirs. 

Although physically handling an item cannot be perfectly reproduced for online shoppers, utilizing augmented reality for eCommerce is the next best thing. AR solutions make it possible for eCommerce customers to see a product on themselves or in their homes. This creates the appearance that it is already theirs. Product listings with AR features help to create a more personal connection with the products. Your customers can experience a deeper desire to own them than with static photos alone. 

Click here to learn more about AR for eCommerce.

2. Gain and Keep Your Customers' Interest Through Immersive Experiences

Man shopping online on his mobile phone

Online stores don't allow you to walk over and show your customers how the products they are looking at work. But AR technology gives you a great alternative: AR experiences. Customers can use their Apple or Android mobile devices to interact with your products while they're at home in their living room. They can make sure the items physically fit, find the best place for them, and picture how the items will enhance their day-to-day experiences. This AR technology is much more engaging than reading product descriptions and specifications.

Creating basic stock videos can be a helpful starting point. But these images tend to be impersonal and limit exploration. They can't highlight how the product's features can benefit each unique customer the way AR for eCommerce can. Combining videos and 3D representations of products with augmented reality technology gives customers the opportunity to see products in action through your AR app. This can grab their attention and persuade them to add more items to their shopping carts with less friction. 

Learn more about how visuals drive conversion

3. Stand Apart From Other Online Stores by Offering AR Experiences

Using decor, signage, and other strategies to make your physical store more appealing than your neighbors' stores is a common sales tactic for brick and mortar store owners. But this is more difficult to do online. Your potential customers usually aren't looking at more than one website at the same time in the same way that they can see a long row of options at once at a mall or strip mall. So eCommerce shop owners need to be a bit more creative about nudging potential customers toward their site and boosting their conversion rates. 

Adding AR features to your eCommerce site can be an effective way to replace this real-world sales tactic. Augmented reality, product configurators, and other high-tech options are beginning to gain traction over traditional photos and videos. But over half of the retailers surveyed indicated that they are not yet prepared to add augmented reality to their websites. Savvy eCommerce business owners can use this knowledge to their advantage. They can get a head start finding new ways to use AR for eCommerce to make their stores stand out from the crowd and become their shoppers’ go-to online store.

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4. Align Your Social Media Posts With Your eCommerce Website for Better Brand Recognition

Social media marketing campaigns are no longer limited to basic photos with no interactive functionality. Certain Instagram and Facebook ad formats include augmented reality filters, virtual reality, and other new technologies. This gives eCommerce shop owners the opportunity to capture potential customers' attention while they’re scrolling through social media. Shoppers can instantly start building a psychological sense of ownership of a particular product. 

Some up-and-coming brands, such as Everlane and Glossier, even largely rely on their Instagram pages when it comes to building their customer bases. Even better, you can also use social media ads to lead interested customers to your own in-store AR features. 

Are you or your customers already using fun AR filters and functionalities on social media platforms? If so, then bring the experience full circle. Offer the same functionality through a product customizer and AR tool on your website. It’s important to create a cohesive brand experience through all of your digital marketing strategies. Getting customers excited about your eCommerce brand takes a lot of work; you don’t want them to confuse you with one of your competitors. So make sure the AR technologies social media audiences enjoy are also on your product pages. 

Social media platforms even allow ad creators to choose specific demographic groups for their targeted ad campaigns. This allows you to reach members of your target audience that are already more likely to have a higher level of interest in AR and product customizers on your website. It also cements your place as the eCommerce store in your niche with AR, which is great branding.

Increase Your Customers’ Connection to Your Products With AR for eCommerce

Understanding the role that psychology plays in convincing customers to buy a particular product or not is a must. Combining augmented reality features with product configurators and other visual tools gives your potential customers a better idea of how your products will look in their homes. 

At Threekit, we specialize in AR for eCommerce. We help our clients utilize new technologies to help create a sense of ownership and satisfaction for their customers. Our tools are built to integrate with Shopify, Salesforce, WooCommerce, and more. These tools help customers make more informed decisions. AR integrations and product customizers can work together to replace the experience of in-store shopping altogether. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of adding augmented reality to your eCommerce shop or to get started creating your own AR tools for your website!