In this article, we take a look at how AR VR technology has transformed the e-commerce world and has made it more accessible to one and all. We also dive into the concept of product configurators and how AR and VR play a huge role in their usage. Along with this, we understand the various challenges that brands might face in implementing this tech and a checklist to help brands find the right AR VR solution for them.
Table of Contents
- A Glance: AR VR technology & eCommerce
- What are AR, VR, & Online Product Configurators?
- How do AR VR technology help eCommerce?
- AR/ VR application in Industries
- Challenges in implementing AR VR technology
- Checklist to select the right AR VR technology solution for your business
- The new face of e-commerce
The world of e-commerce is slowly, but steadily, opening its arms to welcome the new era of reality. The advent of AR VR technology is all set to change the way we buy and sell through digital channels. So much so that it is predicted that the number of AR users will be an estimated 1.1 billion worldwide by 2022 while the consumer VR market worldwide is predicted to reach $3.7 billion by the end of 2022.
A Glance: AR VR technology & eCommerce
Here are some statistics that show how AR VR technology have changed e-commerce in just a few years.
- 70% of consumers believe AR can bring them benefits.
- 63% of online shoppers claim AR will improve their shopping experience.
- 71% of consumers say they would shop more often if they used AR.
- 61% of consumers say they prefer retailers with AR experiences.
- 77% of people who use VR want more social engagement in it.
- In 2020, 55% of users found the VR experience satisfying.
- 80% of consumers feel positive about experiencing branded VR tactics.
- 20% of consumers say a branded VR experience would make them feel more positively towards the brand.
What are AR, VR, & Online Product Configurators?
There has been so much happening on the AR VR technology front but let’s start with the basics to understand the two terms, namely AR and VR.
Augmented reality or AR is a technology that allows users to experience a digital image of the product in their real surroundings. Here the keyword is ‘real surrounding’. For example, you want to buy a sofa for your living room; here, AR allows you to place the sofa in your living room and understand the size and how it will look with your interiors to help you make an informed decision. The user sees a computer-generated input in real-time, in their setting. What makes AR all too special is that it can include sound, geographical directions, etc to stimulate one’s senses and get a feel of the product in the real world.
On the other hand, virtual reality, or VR, is a computer technology that enables the user to experience a product in a virtual setting. Here the keyword is ‘virtual setting’. As opposed to AR, what the user experiences are entirely computer-generated. Thus, a complete simulation of the world and of a product is presented to the user with VR. For example, Metaverse is a VR simulation. It is a virtual world where you can experience a store, a product online.
Online product configurators add to this experience by helping the customer configure a product while visualizing it online. Imagine, changing the size, color, and features of the product in real-time. For example, a customer can check all the available 5 colors of a sofa. Thus, a customer can make an informed decision with the help of online product configurators.
How do AR VR technology help eCommerce?
82% of companies implementing AR VR technology indicate that benefits exceed expectations. We can understand the buzz around AR and VR technology when we see how it has helped and boost the world of e-commerce.
1. Higher conversion rates
Better visual product experience has enabled some brands to increase conversion rates by up to 40%. Shopify indicates an increase of up to 250%. This is obvious as better customer experience combined with better customer trust leads to higher conversion rates. Add to this the transparency of information with AR VR technology and images, and customers would not only buy but also enjoy your products.
2. Lesser product returns and increase customer trust
Companies have observed 35% fewer returns since using AR VR technology, according to Shopify. According to a study conducted by UPS that 27% of users return products or place calls with customer care primarily because the products were not accurate according to the online catalog. AR and VR technology can greatly reduce this complaint as customers can see and understand all the aspects of the product that are important to them.
3. Better customer experience
Customer experience plays a great role in the relationship formed between a customer and a brand’s products. Online shopping has greatly reduced the chance of an amicable relationship but brands can avoid this with AR and VR in their products. AR VR technology allows the customers to experience your products in almost the same way as they would in a physical store. What’s more, studies by Walker Sands show that 13% of consumers say VR and AR experiences will cause them to shop more in physical stores. Thus, AR and VR only guarantee a better shopping experience both online and offline.
4. Easy product customization for customers
Ease of customization has many perks for a customer. Customizing a product in two different colors, different orientations, and different materials helps a customer make an informed decision. This reduces any decision fatigue or any customer complaints after the product is bought. 40% of consumers say they would pay more for a product that they could customize in AR and VR, as per Deloitte. With platforms like HelloAR raking in 30,000+ hours of user interaction and 3000+ hours of AR engagement, HelloAR’s online configurators’ results speak for themselves.
5. Better Online Sales Presentations
Owing to the Pandemic, sales presentations also have moved online. Using PowerPoint presentations is hence not enough anymore to make a lasting impression. Using AR and VR technology in your sales presentation can improve brand interaction with your presentation. It can also help your client visualize the points that your sales presentation is trying to make. Furthermore, increased uses of AR and VR also allow you to seamlessly integrate in-depth information about your product in your sales presentation.
6. Eased process for product manufacturers
AR and VR technology, and the 3D imagery are useful not only for retail but also for manufacturers. Producing a new product entails the creation of a prototype. This then undergoes several changes and revisions as per the manufacturers’ requirements. This increases production costs while also lengthening the time taken to create a product. 3D models, which are used in AR and VR technology, can be easily refined as per suggestions. This allows manufacturers to save time and money while also keeping up with the new trends.
AR/ VR application in Industries
With the aforementioned benefits of AR and VR technology to e-commerce, various innovative applications of the same are popularly found in the industry.
1. Used cars
The industry of used cars has benefited the most from AR VR technology. Realistic imagery and the ability to view the used car in a real-time setting are instrumental in proving the quality of a used car to a customer. The highly realistic interiors of a used car also implore a customer to verify minute details of a used car without seeing it in real life. For example, Gigacars and Cars24 have employed the AR VR technology services of HelloAR to improve customer experience and ultimately, sales.
2. Homeware and furnishings with AR VR technology
Homeware and furnishings are e-commerce products that can be best visualized when viewed in the home setting. AR and VR images of home furnishings can enable customers to experience how a particular product will look and fit in the place desirable to the customer. This enables the customer to buy any product without any regrets. Companies like Terrain art, Homecentre, Encraft, Assa Abloy, CraftsMaestro, CraftsMaestro, Pequra, Lifencolors, IFB are some of the popular examples who benefited greatly from HelloAR’s visual experiences.
3. Sanitary ware
Sanitary ware products are part of a long-term product journey that a customer buys. Thus making an informed and right choice is immensely important for the customer. Viewing sanitary ware products using AR and VR allows customers to inspect every minute detail of the product, helping them verify its quality. Also, customers can view the product in their homes, in their offices, or wherever they want the product to be installed using AR VR technology without having to physically commit to the product. Ashirvad pipes are one such client who improved customer satisfaction with HelloAR’s visual tech.
Furniture products play a great role in the buying process for a customer, as these too form an important part of one’s home. AR VR technology enable the customers to check out the product from all angles in real-time. Realistic photos of the product further improve the visual experience of the customer and help them make the decision that is right for them. Featherlite, Transtill, Greensoul, and Guarented can now provide the best visual experience to their customers using HelloAR.
5. Beauty industry and AR VR technology
The beauty industry was hit the most during the pandemic. But AR VR technology has enabled the industry to achieve what it never could before. Customers can now try on beauty products like lipsticks or any sort of makeup online and make the right decision for them. Product customization also helps the customer change the color of a lipstick, for example, while they are trying it on visually.
Customers of the clothing industry often make the purchase depending on the successful trial of a product. That is, the customers try out clothes to check for the fit, the size, etc before deciding to buy any type of clothing. This too was made impossible by the pandemic with the closure of physical stores. AR and VR enable the customers to virtually try on clothes to real-life accuracy thus relieving decision fatigue while shopping online. Wildcraft greatly improved upon its sales and customer satisfaction, thanks to HelloAR’s AR VR services.
Challenges in implementing AR VR technology
Despite the many advantages and applications of AR and VR technology, there are several challenges that companies face while implementing this technology.
1. The cost factor
The primary challenge faced by most E-Commerce companies in establishing VR and AR technology is the cost of implementation. Full-fledged implementation of AR VR technology into your company website or app can cost a ton of money. But this can be resolved by finding the right road map for incorporating this technology with your products. Platforms like HelloAR help you chalk out an AR VR strategy that fits your business budget the best.
2. Lack of technological skill for AR VR technology
It is often presumed that advanced technological services like AR and VR catalogs are possible only if one has technological skills. This might seem far-fetched for the e-commerce brands, thus posing a challenge in implementing AR and VR. Various no-code platforms like HelloAR greatly simplify this process as all the brand has to do is to provide or procure the right images to incorporate a better visual experience.
3. Different priorities
Often companies prioritize other factors of running a business over incorporating new technology like AR and VR. Understandably, businesses would wish to spend their budget over services that they traditionally have been providing, as compared to a service that is new to them. Add to this the training required to be given to business staff to understand this new technology not only requires money but also due time. Understanding the various ways AR and VR can benefit the visual experience while also improving conversion rates is an important factor in stepping into the new world of AR VR technology in e-commerce.
4. Lack of unanimous decision in implementing AR VR technology
Business decisions like incorporating new technology into a business are taken by a team of members, each of a different opinion and point of view. Hence, coming to a unanimous decision of incorporating AR and VR technology into one’s business can be a great challenge. Being aware of the numerous success stories written by AR and VR technology in the eCommerce market, irrespective of the domain, is the best way to meet the business targets while also providing the best experience to your customers.
5. Taboos about AR VR technology
Like all new technologies, AR and VR also suffer from rumors and taboos. It is often seen as a gimmick to attract customers while not being able to produce any real results. But with studies conducted by SeekXR reporting a 25 percent decrease in returns from AR-guided purchases and by CPrimeStudios reporting that 70% of people say that innovative technologies and virtual reality in cars are must-haves for them to make a final decision, we see that with the right implementation AR and VR technology can boost your business its visibility and its conversion rates like nothing else.
Checklist to select the right AR VR technology solution for your business
Here are a few things you need to consider when you are looking for the right AR VR solution for your brand and business.
|Factor||Things you need to consider|
|Choosing a Target Platform||Mobile (Android and iOS) and HMD (Head Mounted Displays, AKA Headset) or phone-based HMD|
|product images||High-resolution, multi-angle images of the product|
|Channels||AR/VR -tailored Omni channels for ease of usage|
|Content||Optimized for product hotspots that encourage AR VR usage|
|AR searchability||SEO metadata and tagging needed for increased searchability|
The new face of e-commerce
AR VR technology and their usefulness in the world of e-commerce are proven and agreed upon by one and all. Though technology is relatively new, tips benefits can be experienced by brands and customers alike. As AR and VR technology is allowing better transparency between customers and brands, it is also bringing the e-commerce world closer together.