The future of online shopping is extremely bright, given that we live in the digital world where online transactions are an integral part of our everyday life. That being stated, the e-commerce space is a highly competitive one where businesses can achieve success by successfully differentiating their products and services from the competition. That is where new-age technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) give businesses a distinct advantage in engaging with the new-age tech-savvy customer. Combining the best elements of physical and online shopping, augmented reality solutions allows customers to have a fantastic immersive and interactive experience that makes a purchase decision more likely.

What is AR Shopping

AR shopping in its essence replicates the physical shopping experience in an online environment. It allows customers to virtually interact with the products the way they would in a physical store with the help of electronic devices like smartphones or virtual reality headsets. AR, is, therefore, ideally suited to marketing, as it facilitates pre-buying activities like virtual trying on of products, or overlaying items like furniture into customers’ homes to let them have a fair idea about the suitability or otherwise of the products in question.

Trends that Shaping eCommerce 2023

Let us get an idea of the trends that are expected to define e-commerce in 2023.

Virtual Try-Ons

Virtual Try-Ons are a great way for a business to demonstrate its products to its customers, without their having to leave the comfort of their homes or wherever they might be at a given moment in time. This technology is particularly well suited to the fashion and beauty industries. Research carried out by Modern Real suggested that product demonstrations with the help of virtual try-on technology have seen the biggest increase in usage in the 2017 to 2022 period.

It makes eminent sense for e-commerce stores to deploy Virtual Try-On technology, though they would do well to keep things simple for the best results. Virtual-Try-Ons are also an excellent feature to integrate into one’s social commerce strategy.

Virtual Showroom

A Virtual Showroom is pretty similar to a Virtual Try-On experience. It comprises a fully virtual space where e-commerce stores can simulate a physical environment incorporating 3D versions of their products. Customers can view these from multiple angles and zoom in and out to interact comprehensively with the products in question. A Virtual Showroom is an innovative and novel way of representing one’s products to one’s customers. By providing a Virtual Showroom to one’s target audience, an online business is able to place its products on its customer’s screens, enabling them to access your products from any place and at any time.

Some Interesting 2023 Stats About AR eCommerce

  • Expected number of AR device users by the end of 2023- 1.4 billion.
  • 70% of technology leaders are of the opinion that the AR market will exceed the VR market in terms of revenue.
  • AR product experiences happen to be 200% more engaging than other forms of outreach.
  • 61% of consumers prefer retailers who offer AR experiences.
  • The estimated value of the AR market value by 2024 is $50 billion.
  • 71% of consumers are of the view that they would shop more if they had access to AR.
  • 40% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product that they could customize using AR.
  • 67% of advertising agencies are increasingly using AR.
  • AR leads to a 40% higher conversion rate.

Benefits of AR

  1. A significant drop in product return rate
  2. Improved Customer Relationship
  3. High Conversion Rate

A Significant Drop in Product Return Rate

There is significant evidence that the deployment of AR reduces the product return rates experienced by businesses. According to Shopify, there is a 40% decrease in returns on account of 3D visualizations. SeekXR, on the other, hand points to a 25% decrease in returns from AR-driven purchases.

Improved Customer Relationship

There is a plethora of benefits that would accrue to e-commerce businesses by deploying AR. These range from training customer service agents and helping customers take faster purchase decisions to offer advice via interactive packaging and offering try-as-you- buy experiences.

High Conversion Rate

AR technology is known to enhance engagement between e-commerce brands and their customers. Research carried out by Facebook’s AR partner Vertrebrae showed that retailers who deployed AR technology during the pandemic saw a 19% increase in customer engagement. Similarly, data releases by Shopify show that products that were advertised using VR/AR content led to a 94% higher conversion rate when compared to products that did not leverage that kind of content.