These days, every brand has some kind of ecommerce presence. It’s become unthinkable not to have one.
With that being said, the digital landscape is an extremely diverse one and ecommerce has proven to be no exception. Even among competing companies, two businesses may take completely different approaches to engaging and converting shoppers online.
This will probably always be the case to some degree, but one channel has proven especially attractive lately across multiple industries. If the trend continues, you can expect to see even more big brands running toward augmented reality in the future.
3 Reasons Big Companies Are Adding AR to Their Ecommerce Channels
As with so many ecommerce channels, augmented reality is an extremely versatile one. That helps explain why so many big brands have been able to use it for completely different goals.
Still, there are three reasons that exemplify why AR has found so many fans so quickly among companies that are household names.
1. Augmented Reality Is a Unique Feature (for Now)
For the time being, augmented reality is a novelty. While the AR industry is projected to be worth $117 billion by 2022, the technology still remains a relatively unique marketing tool. This may seem like a simple observation, but it actually represents a massive opportunity.
Customers will always be attracted to new technology, whether as a part of the actual product or service they’re interested in, or as a means of shopping for that item. The most obvious example of this is how people shifted from in-store shopping to ecommerce, even back when it meant waiting several weeks to receive their purchases.
Shoppers have proven they don’t just like using augmented reality, though. They actually want others to see them enjoying it, too.
Many companies have already learned to leverage this. Adidas did earlier this year when it used augmented reality to power an unboxing event. The reveal of a new shoe is always an attention-grabbing occasion among “sneakerheads” who often treat it with as much anticipation as cinephiles do the premier of a much-publicized movie.
Shoe companies pull out all the stops designing packaging that will enhance the product even more, ensuring the best possible reaction from the public.
Adidas upped the ante considerably when they introduced the first ever AR-powered unboxing experience for their Deerupt line. They sent shoeboxes to major social media influencers who, upon looking inside, found a QR code. By going to the Deerupt site and then holding their camera over the code, they were shown a 3D version of the upcoming shoe.
The experience was so new and fun – novel – that, as expected, social media influencers shared it with their followers, drumming up even more anticipation for the new footwear.
The approach proved so popular, that the Adidas later used AR during ComplexCon. Once again, the novelty paid off. Attendees who wanted limited-edition shoes needed to download the ComplexConn app and wait for instructions about where to find them.
2. AR Is the Height of Personalization
One marketing methodology that has become mainstream is personalization. Companies big and small have realized that shoppers don’t want a one-size-fits-all experience. They want to feel like brands – including the biggest – look at them as individuals. Otherwise, they’ll move on to one that does.
Companies aren’t lacking for ways to implement personalization into their marketing, either. A common example is websites that “remember” shoppers (via cookies) and tailor the information they see based on established preferences.
A customer visiting a retailer that sells sports equipment may only see skis, ski boots, and poles because that’s what they were looking at last time. The same may go for the blog posts and videos that are displayed.
Aside from the aforementioned advantages, effective personalization makes it easier for a shopper to become a customer. They are given all the information they need to make a buying decision.
Well, almost all.
Augmented reality is helping to fill in gaps that no amount of personalization software could ever hope to address.
L’Oreal did something similar, so customers could bring “the makeup counter experience” into their homes. The company combined AR with actual beauty assistants whom shoppers could book for digital consultations. These assistants then used augmented reality to show shoppers what different cosmetics would look like on them – despite being separated by hundreds or even thousands of miles.
In both cases, consumers are given a one-of-a-kind experience, as personalized as it gets without actually using the products.
3. Augmented Reality Closes the Gap Between Ecommerce and Instore Experiences
For more than a decade now, ecommerce has been posing a bigger and bigger challenge to companies that rely on instore locations.
However, there’s been one noticeable exception: clothing stores. As the Tampa Bay Times describes it:
“For many people, buying clothing online is not worth the hassle of getting a pair of pants or a shirt that does not fit. Many retailers have sought to eliminate that risk by offering free returns on clothing…”
Amazon is trying to solve the problem by allowing customers to order items – without paying for them – and send back what doesn’t fit or look right on them.
The potential for virtual fitting rooms hasn’t been lost on other big brands, either. The Gap already tested an app that would give online shoppers this type of in-store experience from the comfort of their own homes.
Is Your Company Ready to Join the Big Brands?
Would your business like to join the likes of Converse, IKEA, L’Oreal, the Gap, and Amazon?
While there’s probably a lot you could learn from these household names, one easy step you can take toward emulating their success is simply investing in augmented reality.
Fortunately, it’s easier and more affordable than ever before.
At NextTech AR Solutions Corp., we’ve developed a proprietary augmented reality advertising platform that connects shoppers with companies through a fully-immersive AR experience.
In other words, your competitive advantage is waiting.
Contact us today to learn more about this cutting-edge technology and how we’ll customize it – and its implementation – to meet your company’s unique needs.