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Is augmented reality an effective tool for eCommerce?

Consumers today are craving highly visual online shopping experiences. Showcasing products in real-life environments via augmented reality (AR) certainly seems like it would meet that criteria. But is AR an effective tool for eCommerce? We’ve all seen AR apps used to share fun, whimsical animations with friends and family but AR has far more potential than a few laughs. Think about it. With high-quality 3D visuals, AR gives consumers a chance to envision real, tangible products right in their own space. This gives them even more confidence than being able to browse a store’s physical inventory at a brick-and-mortar location.

 

 

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The pandemic completely reconditioned consumers. After months pent up at home shopping online, today’s consumers expect high-quality visuals, customization, and an up-close look at a brand’s offerings without having to leave the house. A few short years ago, consumers were satisfied with a mere three product images while shopping online. As recently as 2019, that number had jumped to eight. In the post-pandemic world expectations go far beyond simple 2D, or even 3D images. Today, consumers want an immersive experience that enables them to view a brand’s full catalog right in their space, in real-time. AR makes this possible and the brands that get in on AR now will see countless benefits down the road.

But is AR for eCommerce effective? Of course it dazzles users, but AR is more than a toy to help us pass the time. In digital marketing, AR has quickly become a critical tool that takes the guesswork out of online shopping so consumers can do more than browsing--they can take a brand’s offering on a test-drive. Let’s take a closer look at the many benefits of providing AR experiences for consumers.

Consumers want AR.

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While AR may be the latest advancement in digital marketing, consumers are well aware of its capabilities. Household name brands like IKEA and Nike have been providing leading AR experiences for years and everyday shoppers have begun to take notice. There’s also ample evidence to prove that consumers are not only aware of AR--they’ve admitted that they’re more likely to make purchases from brands putting it to use. In fact, a recent study found that 60% of adults in the US are more likely to buy a product if it’s shown in 3D or AR. That same study found that 66% of adults in the US are more interested in shopping on a website if it offers AR. In other words, whether they’re using the AR application or not, consumers see brands more favorably simply because they offer AR as an option. The reasons for these preferences are quite simple: Shoppers have more confidence when they have an opportunity to see what they’re buying from every conceivable angle in their own unique space.

Custom experiences are king.

 

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As mentioned earlier, today’s consumers aren’t satisfied with simple visuals, no matter how beautiful. They want an experience to match, and specifically they want that experience to be one-of-a-kind. There’s no better way to provide a shopper with a truly unique experience than by giving them a chance to try a product on for size in an environment that’s unlike any other: they’re homes.

Beyond B2C consumers, B2B clients are also seeking the benefits of AR experiences. Their catalogs are often highly complex and the B2B sales process isn’t what it was 10 short years ago. Modern B2B buyers prefer a self-guided journey and would prefer to hold off on meetings for as long as possible. This means B2B sellers need to provide the best possible digital experiences that help buyers answer their own questions. AR is the perfect experience to give them just that by helping try every possible permutation in their unique workspaces.

AR adds emotion to the journey.

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Modern consumers are also looking for an emotional connection to brands and there’s no better way to create one than with a personalized experience right in their homes. Daydreaming about a product, as one might do in a build-your-own experience, certainly creates the beginnings of a connection but it might not carry a shopper through to the checkout. Seeing that perfect, customized version of exactly what they have in mind right in their lives, on the other hand, is often just what it takes to convince them to make a purchase.

In Summary

There are countless benefits to incorporating AR into an eCommerce marketing plan and those covered above just name a few. When modern shoppers love their experience, they’re far more likely to share it with friends and loved ones both on social channels and by word of mouth. Brand loyalty on that scale is invaluable.

While it’s clear that AR is an effective tool for eCommerce, it’s critical that brands work with the right platform to suit their specific AR needs. Threekit is the scalable AR platform that can accommodate brands of every size and shape today, and the growth they’re likely to see tomorrow. Threekit has its roots in Hollywood CGI effects, meaning their standards for visual quality have been the highest in the world since before 3D images existed in digital marketing. They’re highly experienced virtual photographers work closely with clients to provide precisely what they need, without ever having to plan for or set foot in a photo studio. And the team at Threekit partners with some of the world’s leading digital marketing agencies to provide the best possible experiences.

In addition to providing stunning 3D visuals for clients, Threekit is also one of the most scalable and flexible AR platforms. They’re visual product configurators enable brands with catalogs of virtually any size to showcase their entire inventory, in every possible permutation, in 3D and right on shoppers’ smartphones or tablets. In other words, shoppers can choose from tens of thousands of permutations and try them on for size in their spaces.

The best time to add AR to your brand’s digital toolbox is right now. And the best partner to help you do it right is clearly Threekit. Ready to delight your customers with a highly personalized, immersive shopping experience unlike any other? Get in touch today for a consultation or demo