“E-commerce is not an industry; it is a tactic.”
E-commerce is evolving at a very rapid rate and so is the competition in this field and the credit of these go to Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Machine Learning tools. Any e-commerce business owners can utilize these technologies to be an exception in this competitive market and rise above all. These fields are beneficial if you want your e-commerce business to increase its sales and make a positive impact on potential customers.
So, how do these fields help? And what are the best practices associated with them? Let us have an understanding of these concepts in brief.
What are Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence?
— Evan Kirstel (@evankirstel) January 14, 2019
Augmented Reality was a thing of imagination for a long time. It was limited to movies and entertainment industries. But with the latest technological advancements, AR has witnessed rapid growth. It has finally left the domain of Sci-Fi and entered the realm of science.
Augmented Reality is an interface between the real-world environment and computer-generated environment. It encrusts digital visualization objects over the real world through AR applications.
Artificial Intelligence is the ability of a computer program to comprehend and act accordingly. It is a field which tries to make computers and machines smart. With an elementary program, it can learn and think like a normal human being.
AI is the manifestation of learning and improvement on its own. Involvement of AI in the industries has shown an outstanding success and positive impact. Using these fields in an e-commerce business can help you enhance:
Enhancing shopping experiences with the use of augmented reality in e-commerce
E-commerce industry has experienced a massive tide of good fortunes by leveraging the potential of Augmented Reality (AR) technology. This move has succeeded to overcome the shortcomings of online shopping by bridging the gap between offline and online shopping experiences.
The article here delves into this topic and discuss the following topics
- The Help Provided by Augmented Realty
- Integrating AR in e-commerce
- ARKit: Augmented Reality for iOS
- ARCore: Augmented Reality for Android
- Enhancement of Shopping Experience
- Customer Centric Search
- Virtual Fitting Room
- Preview Placement
- Data Analysis and Research
- Live support and Chatbots
- AR Powered Digital Marketing
- Practical Examples of Augmented Reality E-commerce Applications
- IKEA Place – AR App for Furnishing Industry
- eBay – AR App for B2C and C2C sales
- Banana Flame —AR App for the Fashion Industry
- Amazon —AR App for Retail Industry
1. The Help Provided by Augmented Realty
The primary concern of online shoppers is ‘uncertainty.’ They are generally unsure of whether a particular product is right for them or meets their specifications perfectly. All the customers do not have the imagination power to correlate the products available online with the real world space.
It is where Augmented Reality technology helps!
- With Augmented Reality apps, customers are more confident in their purchases and feel that they are making the right choice.
- Customers are fond of the idea of being able to try different options before making the purchase virtually.
- AR-based e-commerce app makes this possible by transforming the user’s smart-phone into a useful and ubiquitous AR platform.
Integrating AR in e-commerce websites
Forecasting the increasing need of AR-based mobile apps in the near future, technology giants Apple and Google have developed their own Augmented Reality platforms. These platforms make it simple for developers to build e-commerce apps possessing AR features. Therefore, App Development Companies should take note of this analysis.
3. ARKit : Augmented Reality for iOS
iOS developers can have a sigh of relief due to the availability of ARKit – a platform to build Augmented Reality iOS apps. This kit reduces effort and time of developers in building apps that seamlessly blend digital objects and information with the real-world environment.
4. ARCore : Augmented Reality for Android
ARCore is a software development kit for Android developers. It is used to build innovative apps with Augmented Reality capabilities. This kit comprises of all the tools that developers need to make bigger and better bets with AR that perfectly blend the virtual and real world. The Mobile App Developers can use this kit & create some amazing AR apps.
5. Enhancement of Shopping Experience
- The introduction of AR and AI can enhance customer’s shopping experience and improve your economic sales.
- Technology entitles customers to view products and their features with the help of AR applications.
- AR applications can visualize and animate the product so that the users could understand its features more easily.
- It is handy as the customer will be satisfied with the use of a product which he wants to purchase. For instance, IKEA catalog came up with an AR application in 2013, which visualizes its catalog pages and shows a 3D animation of their furniture.
- Usage of AR technology helps the firms to attract a vast number of customers.
6. Customer Centric Search
Sometimes, a customer may abandon e-commerce experience due to the display of an irrelevant result. It is mandatory that the e-commerce business should provide the same product which the consumer needs. Thus, with AI technology this has become easier.
- AI technology can produce results relevant to the search made by the consumer which will satisfy the consumer.
- It can generate a customer-centric search and show only the necessary products for the consumers.
- AI can also show similar products to the customer via sponsored advertisement even if he has left the e-commerce website.
- Hence, it will bring more traffic to your website which will probably increase your sales as well.
7. Virtual Fitting Room
Over time, a customer will be able to choose between different sizes and colors of clothes which will be best suited to them. You can achieve it through applications of AR. With AR tools, the customer will be able to see himself and can see what clothes would look great on them, what color or size would suit their personality. Instead of seeing the clothes on models and mannequins, the customer will be able to observe themselves in all the outfits. Customers will be more engaged with these applications and eventually, it will increase the sales of your online shopping store.
With the popularity of selfies, your customers do not have any problems in turning their device’s camera on themselves. It entitles them to virtually “try on” clothing and accessories for a better sense of how it will look on them instead of on a random online model. As Michael Kors AR ad demonstrates, the clothing can “move” along with the person, allowing the customer to preview how it looks from different angles.
8. Preview Placement
As with the Amazon and IKEA apps, shoppers can have a quick look at how a particular product looks within their own home (or office or garage, etc.). This feature offers an increased sense of ownership and goes above-and-beyond what brick-and-mortar stores can provide. Not only this, but it also saves the customer time after purchase.
Customers only need to move their phone screen instead of running a heavy object around the room to preview it in different locations. That’s a significant boost to customer satisfaction as well as their loyalty.
9. Data Analysis and Research
Machine learning and statistical data can be used to forecast the future market with historical evidence. It is known as Predictive Analytics, which has been around for quite a while now. It will help enormously to approach customers and increase sales. This practice will allow you to understand what your customers are most likely to buy in the future. You can also determine the price of a product that a customer will pay. It will also retarget users through promotions and recommendations. If you can predict the market with the help of AI and Data analysis, you can manage your price very quickly for the product and increase the sales without offering a higher rate.
10. Live support and Chatbots
The vital aspects to improve your purchases are the FAQ and help support to customers in need. Sometimes, customers may get puzzled while selecting between two or more similar products.
If they do not get any help support in time, it might change the customer’s mind about not purchasing the products. However, AI technology has improved this scenario by introducing live chats and support.
- AI makes use of simple pattern algorithms which understand, learns and act according to the customer’s query.
- The customer will never feel disappointed if he/she can get a solution to his/her problem. It will save a lot of time for the customer to select between similar products.
- Further, it will help them to improve their product search and enhance sales.
11. AR Powered Digital Marketing
Social media marketing is already huge for e-commerce companies. AR provides them with more opportunities to win the social media battle. Brands are already encouraging consumers to create user-generated content via AR apps. At the front of this movement are apps providing branded filters.
Different brands have already run successful AR-powered marketing campaigns by working with Snapchat, creating vast amounts of user-generated content in the process. These work as endorsements and word-of-mouth marketing when shared online. These brands can then share and promote this content to drive traffic to their e-stores.
12. Practical Examples of Augmented Reality E-commerce Applications
There are existing AR-based e-commerce applications that blur the line between virtual and the real as if it doesn’t exist. Let us know how these applications are solving the problems of online shoppers:
13. IKEA Place – AR App for Furnishing Industry
This app is the retailer’s first ARKit app that brings furniture objects out of the screen and places them in the real space. This Augmented Reality e-commerce app allows interaction of virtual products with the real world in entirely new ways, which was unimaginable till then.
The specialty of IKEA app is that it allows users to bring furniture products home before they buy it.
Swedish home goods giant—IKEA was one of the earliest adopters of AR technology. This home furnishing company took a stride in the technology world to enhance the online shopping experience.
- Users can now scan an empty piece of the floor through the iPhone or iPad’s camera and place the selected product there.
- It gives users an authentic look and feel of the object in real-world environment which helps them to make an informed buying decision.
14. AR App for the B2C Platforms and C2C sales – Thanks to eBay
eBay—a multinational e-commerce corporation has recently come up with an AR-based app for Android users. Developed using ARCore, this app improves the buying and selling experience of customers by providing the next level of convenience to customers through ‘AR box picker’ feature.
- This characteristic of eBay allows users to get the right estimate of the size of the box for packaging the selected item.
- AR powered eBay app superimposes a packaging box from its set of standard box sizes — small, medium top loading, medium side loading, large top loading and many more.
- It makes it possible for users to know what type and size of the box perfectly fit the item and helps them in purchasing the right box.
15. Banana Flame – AR App for the Fashion Industry
Online fashion retailer Banana Flame associated with software company Zugara to build an Augmented Reality shopping app that allows people to virtually ‘try on’ clothes while they shop online. After analyzing the condition that majority of customers ditch the idea of purchasing clothes because they are not able to try it.
‘How good would a certain item look like when I wear it actually?’ is the major problem faced by online shoppers.
Banana Flame resolved this problem by integrating AR feature that adds a virtual fitting room for customers to try out clothes using webcam of the computer. This app uses virtual controls to adjust dresses’ position, size, and color. It even allows users to capture a photograph for sharing with friends and getting their reviews before purchase.
This AR-based shopping app of Banana Flame increased the conversion rate of visitors to customers by 182 percent in a year.
16. Amazon – AR App for Retail Industry
Amazon, the electronic commerce and cloud computing giant have added ‘AR View’ feature in its application for ease of shopping. Presently, Amazon offers an AR view feature only for a selected number of products. However, the company has plans to keep adding more and more products in this list so that shoppers can experiment the look and feel of it.
The products can be rotated to know how large it is and how it looks like when placed in the reallocation. AR view feature of the Amazon app has enhanced the shopping experience by giving customers a sense of satisfaction and winning their confidence while placing the order.
AR is becoming more of an essential piece of technology for retailers, as you can see from many of the encouraging examples above.
With everyone from game developers to car manufacturers providing augmented reality apps to their customers, the time is now for e-Commerce Development Company to offer AR interfaces to potential buyers.
By removing the guesswork from online shopping, AR technology has diminished company losses resulting from return requests of customers. Augmented Reality in retail is truly the future ahead. Therefore, any Mobile App Development Company should be concentrating on this sector.
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