The world is being changed so fast that people can hardly keep track of what events or things make it happen. These impetuous changes influence not only the way we live but also the way we perceive reality. With new technologies emerging every year, it becomes possible to receive more information about things around us just in a few gestures, which can significantly save our time and energy. GPS and object recognition technologies, virtual reality glasses and QR codes are just a little part of what can already extend our knowledge about the surrounding world. All these helpful innovations are unified in a general term Augmented Reality, a mediated reality which connects real and virtual worlds together.
Augmented Reality has a huge potential for E-commerce market as well. Every newly emerged technology tends to become a trend, as information is spread much faster now than ever before. Because trend affects customer’s behavior, it follows that Augmented Reality can be utilized in favour of E-commerce companies trying to take up leading positions in the market. It can be implemented to significantly improve the efficiency of online marketing and simplify customers’ interaction with E-commerce websites through the adaption of advanced mobile technologies.
In this post you will find out more about what Augmented Reality is, how it influences customers and how you can take advantage of it to improve your business.
Table of contents
What is augmented reality?
Augmented Reality (AR) is, in fact, a modified perception of a real world with the help of specialized electronic devices or mobile apps. Unlike virtual reality, which is completely closed for physical interaction, Augmented Reality is a kind of a mediator which connects VR and a real world together. As a result, real world expands by being literally augmented by elements of virtual reality. The most popular Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality examples are Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Microsoft’s HoloLens, and Google Glass which all can be classified as VR/AR headsets.
You should be able to distinguish VR devices from AR devices though. VR headsets, such as Oculus Rift, are mostly intended for computer games and 3D films, as they completely carry you out from the real world into virtual reality. This (yet) prevents such hardware from being used for everyday purposes. AR, on the other hand, has more potential for adding new features to conventional things surrounding us and modifying our view on the real world. As a result, AR devices are more adjusted for being worn by people on a regular basis.
Potential of Augmented Reality for E-commerce
Augmented Reality comes out primarily from mobile devices that introduced the opportunity of merging virtual and real worlds into one. This means that upcoming AR devices and apps will contain everything that smartphones and tablets do but with the use of more advanced technologies: voice calls, video/TV streaming in 2D as well as 3D, games, web browsing, interactive apps, advertising, enterprise apps, and many more. If AR sets in on the global market, an estimated revenue of the industry is likely to reach about $120 billion by the end of 2020.
VR, although being intended for quite an extensive segment in the market, will hardly outperform AR, as games and 3D films take up just a small part of an actual commercial world. AR has much more to offer to consumers in terms of everyday life, including communication, studying, work, and leisure. Augmented Reality apps will make their way from social networks such as Facebook to online games like Clash of Clans or social services like Uber.
Augmented Reality implementation in retail
The basic principle of AR lies in creating images within existing applications that can blend with objects in the real world as seen through a digital display. People can use this technology to interact with both virtual and real worlds in real time. For instance, AR is being widely used by outlet or beauty online stores which offer their customers an opportunity to try out their products by uploading their pictures and using specialized app to combine them with various clothing items or makeup styles. A more profound AR integration can be found in the same sector where users are offered to share their webcams or cellphone front cams to try on various items as seen in real time and from different angles. All the adjustments are made automatically, so you don’t have to spend time on using any additional tools.
As it has been said before, Augmented Reality has its roots in mobile technologies, so it’s reasonable to suggest that the nearest future will bring us Augmented Reality apps built on more conventional mobile apps. The industry of mobile devices is seen to keep growing, and with an introduction of AR it’s likely to outdo all the possible expectations.
The first step to advanced AR has been taken by Indian developers from the Times Group that introduced a mobile app which can recognize images, logos, QR-codes, locations and objects in real time.Augmented Reality advertising uses alike technology for creating innovative types of 3D ads which can be seen from the screen of a mobile device that has been previously used for reading out specialized QR-codes. There are even larger opportunities for AR which could make it possible engage with haptography technologies allowing users to actually feel or sense virtual things.
Just check the following Hugo Boss Augmented Reality Promo film. It shows how the new technology has been utilized by the company.
The future of offline retail
The more companies start adopting AR technologies, the weaker traditional offline retail will become. However, it does not necessarily mean that physical shopping must go extinct. Augmented Reality will provide people with the convenience, speed, and quality, while offline shopping will save its basic but not less important features such as real physical interaction, social experience, real changing rooms, and entertaining atmosphere. These little features can significantly contribute to the industry’s value even in the time of universal virtualization. The below video illustrates some AR opportunities for offline retail.
Augmented Reality marketing opens up almost endless opportunities for E-commerce industry, which can not only provide a fresh look on retail but can also improve general shopping experience. Merchants will soon gain a full access to innovative features that will make it possible to visualize products in a true-to-life scale, view them from various angles and dimensions, enable tactile interaction, and many more. You can now make a first step for adopting AR technologies in your E-commerce business to gain even more traffic, drive more sales, and acquire the leading position in your niche and perhaps in the whole market.