One of the most effective integrations of AR in ecommerce is the virtual try-on. When this functionality is offered, customers can ‘try on’ clothing, accessories, and even makeup via AR projection, using just a smartphone or tablet. This enables shoppers to check for style, size, and suitability, empowering them to buy online with greater confidence.
Using 3D and AR, buyers can get a definitive view on how potential purchases will look in their homes by projecting a life-size digital replica of the product onto their own environment. This allows consumers to check for attributes such as fit, color, and material, thereby ensuring purchases are suitable for the existing space, décor and ambience. By helping consumers make better-informed purchasing decisions, visualizations can increase the likelihood of a purchase – and reduce the chance of items being returned.
3D and AR can transform static product images into interactive 3D demonstrations. By allowing users to rotate, zoom and examine items from every angle, while highlighting key product features and functionalities, companies can bring their range to life in new and exciting ways and offer online shoppers greater levels of interactivity and understanding than ever before.
Live configuration functionality allows consumers to change a product’s attributes, such as its color, material, or finish, and to experiment with different build options and upgrades in order to find their preferred combination. Changes are made instantly, at the click of a button, enabling companies to showcase every product option in their range, without space constraints, while offering buyers the kind of customization ability that increases the chance of them finding their perfect option.
Research cited by Deloitte/Snap found that consumers interacting with products through AR experiences led to a 94% increase in conversion rates. These results are mirrored by findings from a host of firms:
US home improvement giant Home Depot found that implementing AR-powered product visualizations led to conversion rates 2-3 times higher than their ecommerce benchmarks.
Shopify, the ecommerce platform, reported that product listings integrating 3D and AR content saw conversion rates 94% higher than those without.
The UK’s leading sofa retailer, DFS, implemented the world’s largest web-based AR solution, enabling visualizations of more than 10,000 of its products, and saw conversion rates 112% higher amongst shoppers who interacted with the tool.
Virtual try-ons have been shown to increase customer engagement significantly. When beauty brand MAC launched a virtual try-on tool, allowing users to preview how the brand’s products would look on their skin, it saw customer engagement increase by 200%. Research indicates that 71% of shoppers will shop more often when a retailer offers AR experiences, while anecdotal evidence suggests that visualization and configuration functionalities increase website dwell time as consumers spend longer interacting with their potential purchases.
Product returns are a significant – and growing – concern for retailers, with estimates placing the cost at $550 billion each year in the US alone. But a host of ecommerce businesses have used product visualization and other immersive experiences to slash return rates:
Shopify reported a 40% reduction in returns when product visualizations were used as part of the purchasing process.
Home improvement retailer Build.com found that returns for purchases made using AR functionality were 22% lower than for those made without. With around 5,000 customers using their AR tool each month, the retailer cited enabling users to interact with products in their real-world environment – for example, using visualizations to test a replacement faucet to ensure it doesn’t hit the existing backsplash – as key to the success of their AR integration in reducing returns.
Interactive demos, product visualizations, virtual try-ons, and associated AR functionality all make for a better user experience, with 80% of shoppers stating they feel more confident in purchases made using AR, in turn leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction.
With the added transparency and interactivity that immersive experiences offer, research has found that 40% of shoppers would be willing to pay more for products they can trial through 3D and AR first.
For example, a 3D and AR experience that is slow, clunky, or glitchy - or fails to launch at all - can frustrate users and provide a poor representation of the product, making buyers less likely to purchase.
To avoid this, businesses should prioritize selecting the right technology partner – one that can deliver a smooth implementation when deploying immersive experiences and that can ensure compatibility across different mobile devices, providing an optimal viewing experience regardless of the user’s chosen platform.
By partnering with sector experts who can guide them through the planning and development of their immersive experiences, firms can ensure the technology is free to achieve its maximum potential, and the user-experience is prioritized at every step along the journey.
Start by identifying the specific goals for implementing 3D and AR. While immersive technologies have been demonstrated to reduce returns, enhance customer engagement and improve conversion rates, a clear understanding of business priorities and desired outcomes will help to optimize the integration, and enable firms to ensure their 3D and AR strategy is in line with wider business goals.
Choose the right 3D and AR solution
As discussed earlier in this guide, there are various types of 3D and AR solution available, ranging from the development of custom apps and ecosystems, through to using existing 3D and AR platforms. Across this range of options is an accompanying spectrum of budgetary and technical requirements.
By identifying, up front, the type of deployment that best meets their needs, resources, and objectives, companies can ensure they derive the best value for their investment and avoid unnecessary outlay.
Create high-quality content
To offer the best user experience possible, 3D and AR implementations need to be fluid and seamless. As such, it’s important that companies invest in producing the high-quality 3D models that form the basis for AR content. This may mean creating them in-house, where the relevant technical proficiencies exist, or working with a third-party provider.
Furthermore, all 3D and AR content should undergo rigorous testing to ensure any glitches are identified and rectified ahead of the implementation being rolled out to customers.
Ensure user-friendly integration
The most effective 3D and AR implementations are those that are user-friendly and seamlessly integrated into the buyer’s journey. An intuitive user interface is paramount, as is ensuring clear and simple instructions are provided wherever necessary – ideally integrated into the 3D and AR viewer, so that users are walked through the process step-by-step.
In addition, companies should ensure that their 3D and AR experience works seamlessly across different devices, to ensure that the user journey flows without disruption, meaning comprehensive user testing before rollout is a must.
Consider privacy requirements
Privacy and data protection are priorities for regulators and users alike. Expert technology partners can ensure that any immersive deployment is compliant with the relevant requirements for data collection, usage, and consent, giving users a sense of confidence before accessing the platform and ensuring regulatory standards are met from the outset.
Promote 3D and AR features
In order to get the most out of immersive technology, brands must ensure that customers are aware of the experiences offered and, in the case of reluctant or less technically proficient users, entice them into giving them a try. This means promoting 3D and AR functionality, highlighting the benefits to users, and demonstrating how they enhance the shopping experience. These efforts can be carried out via existing marketing channels, such as social media, email, or via the brand website.
Test, iterate and refine
With both the technology and user expectations continually advancing, it’s crucial to monitor the performance of 3D and AR experiences on an ongoing basis. Granular user data enables firms to understand consumer behavior and product interactions in greater depth than ever before, allowing them to dial in on what works best and what may need refinement. Similarly, by gathering user feedback on a continual basis, any potential improvements to the user experience can be swiftly identified and implemented, ensuring the most effective deployment of immersive technology.