In 2019, approximately 1.92 million people purchased goods and services online. There is no doubt that the number of digital buyers continues to grow throughout the 21st century. With more tools than ever before including the internet, social media, and smart devices– consumers are continuing to increasingly turn to e-commerce to make their purchases.
With that being said, we can see how augmented reality (AR) has the power to disrupt this industry. One of the biggest challenges consumers face with online shopping is the inability to touch, try on, or experience the product they are about to buy. Enter AR, where the customer can get a real glimpse of what the product will look like in their own environment. Not only is AR beneficial for consumers, but businesses who invest in AR technologies may also see a decrease in returns and dissatisfaction. Let’s explore three advantages of AR in e-commerce.
Think about a time where you found the perfect painting or furniture set online but wished you had the ability to project what it would look like in your own home. AR solves this problem. Using AR, you can position a digitally imposed version of the item in your desired location– customizing the color or design if needed. Companies such as Ikea, Wayfair, and Home Depot have already deployed augmented reality and take the lead in adoption.
For online businesses, the goal is to keep a potential customer on your website as long as possible– eventually leading to a sale. According to Medium, video enhances customer engagement and has a direct impact on purchasing behavior. However, what if photos and videos were taken up a notch– to an interactive experience? Augmented reality can do just that. With Youtube being the second largest search engine in the world, we can see the way consumers like to interact with today’s content. Implement AR, and the numbers will skyrocket. In fact, 61% of shoppers have already said they prefer to make purchases on sites that offer augmented reality technology.
AR also has big opportunities in fashion and retail as “try on” technologies have been created using AR to give customers the ultimate buying experience. Brands like Sephora and Topshop have introduced new AR features that allow customers to try on a lip shade or clothing piece virtually. The greatest part is that users can interact with the products in their own way and personalize their experience. AR takes away the limitations of not visiting a physical location by allowing customers to interact with products as they would in person.
The Time is Now
Emerging technologies like augmented reality will increase customer satisfaction and user engagement. AR is a powerful tool for merchants and those who adopt sooner than later will reap the benefits.
How do you predict AR will disrupt e-commerce?
With each new generation, comes lessons learned. Some may argue that traditional values have been replaced with freedom and acceptance of all. Of course, there are always two sides to a coin, as structure can be good. But, in the name of Technology, is this really such a bad thing? By uprooting what hasn’t worked in the past, we can make space for new and exciting opportunities.
Think about the Internet and the lessons we have learned from its growth and immense impact on our daily lives. For example, issues such as fake news, misinformation, and the jeopardization of privacy– have all been topics of discussion. Clearly, there have been challenges that came with a more connected world, and developers, providers, and users alike have a role in addressing them. We struggle with the question could we have predicted these challenges? And with more experience behind us now, we now face the question will humans be able to take course correct and take their power back as emerging technologies like Augmented reality and Artificial Intelligence make headway?
The acceleration of technological progress has been the focus of this last century. We are quite possibly at the edge of another massive change in our society. Soon enough, we will flip from the ‘digital native’ to the ‘interconnected human’. Information will be served to humans in a much different way, people will interact “online” differently and data will become ubiquitous.
We can only predict what Generation Z will do with such an immersive and configurable world. Generation Z, already projected to be the most diverse and best-educated generation yet, has the opportunity to hone their skills by taking advantage of augmented reality. They also have little to no memory of the world without smartphones, tablets, or computers. Generation Z never needed to adapt to a technology-centered society, it came naturally to them. We can argue this made them more progressive, as it gave them access to a much larger library of information than ever before. Social media and internet forums and communities now give users the opportunities to appreciate and acknowledge other’s perspectives from across the globe.
It can seem frightening and intimidating to accept a technology that immerses the physical with the virtual. With talk of a future brain/ cloud interface, which would connect brain cells to a vast cloud-computing network, how could you not be wary?
However, with the new generations who are beacons of change, there is trust that they will have more resources and experience to take the driver’s seat. AR natives should be doubtful of people who wish to use technology to control and separate us. Although, there may be fear that we will repeat history– I believe technology will work to make a better future for us all and we can count on younger generations to challenge the imperfections of governments and industry. If leveraged the appropriate way, Augmented reality could be our tool to tap into a collective consciousness and claim our power.