Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are rapidly changing the face of e-commerce. These new technologies now treat the most painful points of shopping, online and in physical stores, and turn them into attractive new outlets, perfect for savvy shoppers.
For online shopping, AR and VR have their own advantages. According to recent statistics, many customers abandon their baskets before validating their order – at a rate of 77.24% -. In a world where e-commerce is accessible and affordable, online stores need to add an extra element of madness to attract customers and convince them to buy.
AR and VR can provide these amazing factors. From interactive locker rooms to online sales agents and more, the AR and VR features are truly the future of online shopping. How can your company implement these innovative features on your website?
What is augmented reality?
Many people think that AR and VR are interchangeable. This is not the case – both forms of technology have different characteristics and fundamentals that make them unique and suitable for different e-commerce purposes. Augmented reality uses technology to impose images, sounds, texts and other forms of information about the world we interact with on a daily basis.
Pokémon GO is an example of mobile application using augmented reality: when you play the game to catch one of the elusive Pokémon creatures, your phone's camera captures your current environment. The application superimposes an animated figure of the Pokémon that you are trying to capture over your current environment. When you look on the screen of your phone, you have the impression that a Pokémon is in the room with you. It's cool, right?
Augmented reality is ubiquitous – from movie screens to labs to palm palms. This futuristic technology is rapidly changing the way we, and our technologies, interact with the world. He is already changing the way we shop online. However, not all companies involving augmented reality are successful.
Google's infamous Google Glass project, launched in 2013, aimed to turn augmented reality into wearable technology. The project has projected text, images, videos, voice commands and other sources of information about the purpose of a pair of glasses. Google has finally withdrawn Google Glass at the end of 2015.
What is virtual reality?
Virtual reality, on the other hand, does not involve the use of our current environment. Virtual reality technology uses our five senses (seeing, feeling, hearing, touching and tasting) to mimic our environment with the help of many different technologies. Not all virtual reality experiences use the five senses, but the best ones take all into account.
The most popular form of virtual reality technology is using virtual reality headsets in games and watching videos. These headsets use a video point of view to immerse a reader in a frame. The famous Oculus Rift VR headset has a number of games specifically designed to accompany it, including Star Trek: Deck crew and Arizona Sunshine.
Star Trek allows players to immerse themselves in the world of popular TV series, while Sunshine is one of the only full-blown first person shooter games available in the virtual reality format. These games and many other virtual reality technologies use a computer-generated three-dimensional environment to flesh out the experience.
Use of the AR in electronic commerce
How does this technology translate into the world of e-commerce? AR can provide many benefits, interesting features and interactive tools to your website. There are many ways to use RA for the enjoyment of your customers' online shopping, including:
- You can use AR to visualize your products in your customer's environment. If they want to see what your lamp would look like on their desk or how a new couch color would harmonize with the walls of their living room, having the AR features of your website might push them to take the right decision to buy.
- If you sell clothes, makeup, jewelryor any other item that customers would like to see on their own, you can launch an AR-based application so customers can try out your products before going to a store or making a purchase. This app can even convince consumers to fall in love with a product they have never heard of before, which encourages them to buy.
- You can use AR to provide product information in context. If you list only descriptive details on your website without context, the real benefits of the product can go beyond the heads of your customers. By showing them a product in their hands using the ARs while providing information at the same time, they can discover how awesome your product is.
If you have AR technology in your budget, you can use it to your advantage. The more users spend time on your site interacting with your AR technology, the more likely you are to make a sale. In addition, Google improves the SEO ranking of pages based on how long a customer stays on the site – but the search engine also penalizes you in case of departure.
Many visitors to your website are browsing on their smartphone rather than on their desktop. If your AR functions do not work on their devices or if your loading time is too long, they may leave your page and you may see filing penalties. Make sure your AR capabilities are compatible with mobile devices and desktops. If you can not use the technology for mobile users, consider disabling it on your mobile site.
Use of virtual reality in e-commerce
VR also offers significant benefits for the online shopping experience. Whether it's testing new products or showcasing your showrooms, customers will appreciate the convenience of viewing your products without having to leave their homes. Seeing a product closely and interacting with it through virtual reality will have a significant impact on the customer's decision to buy.
Virtual reality features can offer many benefits to your company's website:
- You can create virtual showrooms to highlight specific products and features. These three-dimensional renderings will draw your customers to the unique features of the products and give them the ability to "test" the products before making a purchase decision. Videos already increase the likelihood of a customer buying the product – why not go further?
- You can also create virtual versions of your stores so that customers can visit, consult and make purchasing decisions about your products. If customers can see the wide variety of products you offer and find something they like without leaving home, this will make them more likely to visit a physical place.
- Virtual reality features can dramatically reduce the hassle of shopping, especially for those who do not like to interact with the pressing sales staff. For example, car dealerships can use a knowledgeable guide and VR technology to provide customers with information on different vehicles, enable driving tests and explore parts of the car without interacting with sales personnel.
Just like AR technology, make sure your VR technology is compatible with mobile devices for mobile users. You do not want to receive awkward SEO penalties or disable customers on your site.
With these technologies and more, you can dramatically increase your sales power and differentiate yourself from the competition. VR and AR are ideal for businesses that want to develop an innovative brand and are looking for the next step beyond standard mobile websites and apps.