Augmented Reality, despite all the surrounding fuss, is a trend. No wonder — the businesses’ expectations are high, the number of devices is growing at a high pace, and the overall software market in this sphere increases from year to year.
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What do the AR and VR stand for?
Though AR and VR are often used interchangeably, it’s incorrect.
AR stands for augmented reality and defines 3D modeling and experiences on its basis, overlaid in the real world. For example, you can see AR on your smartphone screen after you point your smartphone camera to capture a QR code. Since AR recreation doesn’t involve specialized gear and devices, AR VR content creation for e-commerce is essential for brands.
On the contrary, virtual reality (VR) is an entirely different technology, although it still operates intangible 3D models. However, these 3D models require special headsets and screens to replay them.
Unlike AR, virtual reality effectively removes users from their physical surroundings and places them in a computer-generated virtual one. That's why virtual reality offers a completely immersive experience, perfect for gaming, simulations, and training situations.
The differences between AR and VR lie in the degree of immersion and the ability to interact with the physical environment. With AR, users can impose digital features on top of the real ones, while VR isolates people from the actual world by immersing them in a virtual one.
Both technologies are changing many other sectors, including the media, academics, healthcare, and online shopping. But what makes them so valuable for brands?
The Benefits of VR and AR in E-commerce
AR creates extraordinary experiences across the consumer lifecycle. It affects all the elements of brand promotion and sales funnel, including brand awareness, conversion rates, etc. Let’s consider them closely.
In some niches like apparel, home decor, and furniture, AR is a lifesaver since it lets buyers see the finished product before they buy it. Besides, the more complex the product, the more detailed it can be visualized. It concerns services and processes to the same extent as tangible goods.
With AR/VR in e-commerce, you can showcase the best features of your product without hiring a whole team of photographers, models, stages, etc., to provide customers with persuasive visuals.
Trying before buying makes customers more confident in their purchases. Customers can see exactly how things will fit or seem.
Users can digitally try almost anything: apparel, accessories, cosmetics, furniture, etc. It’s a more engaging and fascinating shopping experience than traditional approaches. No hassle of actual try-ons, any time of day and night, nobody looks. So relaxing.
Increased Customer Engagement
AR in e-commerce is inherently interactive. That’s why hooking your customers on your website is easy, leveraging click-through rates, stay time and overall engagement.
Even if they don’t buy during their visit, their attention works for promoting your website on search engines. Moreover, the improved engagement means they’ve developed a relationship with your brand and your product, investing in your brand’s future-proofing.
Increased Brand Awareness
Those online retailers that get on the AR bandwagon first will have a leg up on the competition. Brands with AR and VR features in their sales process stand out in the market. Consequently, it increases customer loyalty and appeals to early adopters.
Again, the earlier brands implement innovative and cutting-edge solutions, the more they highlight their tech-savvy attitude and reputation to reach more customers.
Augmented Reality potentially increases revenue, draws in new consumers, and creates a buzz. Through interactive advertisements, promotions, or even games, brands capture the attention of potential customers.
Furthermore, AR- and VR-based e-commerce empower consumers to connect with their environments easily. People do not need to drive to remote stores to find and try on a specific product. The rise of AR and VR in e-commerce will eventually make the shopping experience accessible.
AR and VR are convenient to the brands as much as to the customers. With the capacity to virtually experience anything, AR and VR content creation for e-commerce is easier to organize and more cost-efficient. Launching costly marketing campaigns or hiring a production team with many props, models, stages, etc is unnecessary. A hired team of designers and developers will cover all needs.
Now, let’s consider solutions for brands.
Best VR and AR for E-commerce in 2024
AR- and VR-based solutions are numerous. This article gathered the most reliable and effective of them to implement in your business this year.
Virtual Trying On
Customers' inability to try on items before purchasing is a major gripe with online shopping. Augmented reality offers a solution.
Your app or website AR features let consumers virtually try on the products, before they purchase them. Thus, there will be less guesswork about size and fit, improving the online purchasing experience.
Despite VR elements are not accessible enough, their number grows yearly, so it’s time to take this niche now.
Product demos are essential for brands to showcase their products' features, benefits, and value propositions to potential customers. The more complex the product, the more it needs additional explanations. In this case, an AR and VR e-commerce demo is the best option.
Customers interact with 3D models to explore features and functions: scale, turn, rotate, and layer them as they wish to understand how the product works. Demos can be integrated into marketing campaigns, corporate apps, websites, etc., providing dynamics into brand-customer communication.
Businesses develop augmented reality apps to lure shoppers into retail stores through enhanced navigation. Moreover, AR in e-commerce is essential for malls, as it helps to find the particular item in the physical store.
Furthermore, additional features of store navigation can outline product details and instructions to aid customers in their search.
VR Ad Campaigns and Events
Advertising strategies with AR at their core are innovative and promising. For example, augmented reality software scans a print ad and immediately launches an interactive product presentation. Moreover, AR gamification is another potential source of customers.
Furthermore, specialized virtual shopping events or product releases attract customers who seek unique items. It’s an exciting and challenging experience for them.
It will be a game-changer if you make your own store in virtual reality with visual assistants and demos. These places could be virtual representations of well-known physical locations or totally new online ventures.
For example, Ralph Lauren, a renowned apparel brand, uses VR for e-commerce and welcomes customers in virtual stores worldwide, such as Hong Kong, New York, California, and Paris. Meanwhile, a cosmetics brand, Charlotte Tilbury, debuted with a fully virtual shop. In both instances, customers can join forces with friends to purchase in real time.
Interactive User Manuals and Onboarding
With complex products, user manuals are vital for positive user retention. In this course, AR features come at hand through their interactive approach. AR manuals respond to user actions, providing on-page contextual support or indicating the buttons with graphical arrows and text animations.
For example, Lowe’s Holoroom uses VR in e-commerce to allow shoppers to test specific tools or techniques in a complex DIY project. It builds confidence around a business and eventually boosts customers’ trust.
Social Media Filters
Actually, we all got used to social media AR filters. All these masks and effects from Instagram, Snapchat, and so on. Originally, they were made to entertain and engage users; however, these days, they have become a powerful source of product promotion.
AR social media filters work for loads of user-generated content, bind emotionally users with the products, and enhance brand awareness.
AR/VR in E-commerce. Examples
Here are some examples of how world-class businesses use AR and VR technologies for profit. Looking at their success, we get inspired to move forward and outperform.
Using augmented reality software, Ikea has enhanced its e-commerce. New features allow buyers to see how furniture would appear in their space before buying it. Moreover, an accuracy of 98% ensures a smooth customer experience and low return rates.
Additional personalization features meet customers’ expectations and attract new users from competitors. All this is due to AR-based e-commerce.
Levi's apparel brand chose another approach and developed a VR fitting room. Customers with virtual reality goggles try on various denim styles and see the results in real-time. Thanks to this exceptional experience, potential customers may better understand how the garments will seem and fit before buying them.
Sephora, a popular beauty goods company, developed its personal version of how a VR benefits the user's try-on experience. The app takes a picture to help you see how different eyeliners and lipsticks might appear on real faces. Then, it uses that information to position products around the eyes, lips, and cheeks using virtual reality headsets.
Furthermore, using VR in e-commerce, the app greatly strengthens this idea and encourages sharing, commenting, and customer-generated content.
Ray-Ban Try-On tool from a famous Ray-Ban Company offers customers their personal virtual fitting room. They can take a selfie and download their photo to see the sunglasses up close. Again, this tool offers buyers a quick and engaging way to see how the sunglasses will look on their faces before buying them.
The Future of Online Shopping
AR- and VR-based e-commerce seems to have a bright future. VR and AR are expected to increase as businesses invest more in immersive shopping experiences. We witness a wide range of AR and VR elements in marketing, such as face recognition, social media filters, etc.
To keep up with the trend, businesses should focus on immersive purchasing experiences. It means more virtual environments are needed for consumers to interact with various digital assets and each other.
Along with the solutions described above, showing and demonstrating things within the metaverse gives consumers a better idea of what they're getting and how it works.
Not all types of products are suitable for e-commerce. In particular, there are some complex solutions, expensive goods, or goods that are difficult to predict how they look in real life. That’s why AR and VR elements could eliminate this business problem and boost sales.
Moreover, the rise of social media marketing turned AR and VR features into valuable assets in promotion campaigns and tools for brand awareness.
We tried to disclose as much as possible about VR and AR in e-commerce that Uni, as a seasoned digital creative agency, likes to use in their projects. Learn more about actual immersive experiences in our cases, and remember, we’re here to help your business grow.
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What is the difference between AR and VR?
Simply put, AR adds features to an existing environment; however, you can play them with any screen like a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
In contrast, virtual reality items need headsets like Meta's Oculus Quest to be displayed. These headsets transport users to entirely synthetic environments. In them, you do not need to interact with the real world. You’re constantly immersed in the artificial reality.
Despite the similar software, AR VR content creation is the opposite, like how the 3D models are displayed and how the users interact with them.
How does AR e-commerce increase sales?
Augmented Reality can significantly boost sales by enhancing customer experience and offering unique advantages for businesses.
Customers can interact with products closely from any angle and with super detail, which motivates them to buy goods. Moreover, sales rise when customers try these products on from their comfy sofa.
Furniture retailers can use AR to show customers how furniture would look in their homes. While manufacturers create interactive product demonstrations, allowing customers to better understand complex features.
AR is an excellent marketing tool to help businesses build brand loyalty and increase sales by addressing customer needs and providing unique, interactive experiences.
How do I implement AR and VR into my online store?
Although AR and VR are extremely beneficial to businesses, there is a good deal of sophistication to apply them in practice.
First, you must ensure the proper types of VR and AR e-commerce. Consider general things like licensing type, supporting devices, supported OSes, etc. Pick a platform that is better than others to boost your business, and research the main features.
In most cases, you’ll need a seasoned marketing team, designers, and developers to chisel your desired solutions. You might hire an in-house team or find an agency experienced enough to deliver solid and innovative solution. If you need a hand, we’re here to help.