September 27, 2022

What you can learn from the top 3 augmented reality apps

The phenomenal successstories of top augmented reality (AR) apps can be inspirational for anybusiness leader or entrepreneur. And for those looking to build their own,  web based AR offers the perfect stepping stone.  

Key takeaways:  

  • Retail and e-commerce businesses must integrate AR into their customer experiences to stay relevant
  • Businesses should ensure that their augmented reality apps are easy to use and navigate
  • Businesses should know the purpose of building AR apps and develop solutions accordingly

The first commercial AR application, an advertising campaign by BMW, came into being in 2008. Since then, Augmented Reality (AR) apps have progressed by leaps and bounds.

While companies like Skoda have used AR technology to boost customer engagement through interactive ads, others like Rimmel have resorted to using AR-equipped apps to make the buying experience more seamless.

Around a third of customers have already become accustomed to AR shopping experiences, and that number is expected to rise to 66% by 2026, according to the 2021 Global Deloitte Digital Study commissioned by Snap Inc.

Moreover, according to Shopify, companies implementing 3D and AR tech into their customer journeys also see up to 94% better conversions. Naturally, if your company wants to survive in the retail space, building AR apps to provide immersive customer experiences should be a top priority.

In this article, we delve into the reasons behind the success of the top 3 AR apps on iOS and Android and how you can build a successful AR experience for your customers.

32% of customers have already become accustomed to AR shopping experiences

Top 3 AR apps and what makes them successful

Top AR apps like Snapchat, BBC Civilizations, and YouCam Makeup Beauty Editor are easy to download, use and navigate, and allow users to experience AR in real-time without lags

1. Snapchat: Proof that AR is the magic formula for going viral on social media


The first AR app on this list, Snapchat, is an AR-powered social media app that allows users to use AR filters to create and share quirky images. Users only need to click on the appropriate lens to choose a filter. Once the filter is chosen, Snapchat collects pixelation data from the camera to locate the face. Then, the app accurately applies the AR filter on the face in real time.

Not only is Snapchat easy to use and navigate, but it also comes with a range of additional features for consumers and businesses. While consumers can quickly use filters and share pictures with their friends, they can also discover new brands based on their interests. Brands, in turn, can use Snapchat to create branded assets like stickers and filters to drive customer awareness, engagement, and ultimately profile visits and sales. 

Customers can download Snapchat for free on Android and iOS and start using the app immediately without extensive setup processes. Businesses, however, need to pay a nominal fee to get access to Snapchat’s tools for businesses.

2. BBC Civilizations: Proof that AR is the next benchmark of discovery based learning & entertainment

The BBC Civilizations AR app allows users to view historical artifacts through AR tech. After following a quick step-by-step tutorial, users can scan their nearest flat surface and generate an AR projection of their chosen historical artifact.

The AR app is markerless, so it does not require any QR code or marker to launch the app. This makes the setup fuss-free and convenient. Users can toggle to view details about the said artifact, view the said historical piece in life-size, interact with the virtual object to restore the exterior, use the X-ray vision mode to look inside artifacts, and have an immersive AR experience.

The BBC Civilizations AR app is home to over 5000 historical artifacts from 31 countries. And one can download the BBC Civilizations AR app for free on Android and iOS.

AR experience

3. YouCam app: Proof that AR is every customer’s ‘dream personal buyer assistant’

YouCam Makeup Beauty Editor, the third AR app on our list, is an AR selfie camera and makeup app that allows users to touch up their pictures, including hair color, skin tone, lipstick, lashes, teeth, and more with AR. It also has an AR fashion assistant that helps users preview makeup looks from top beauty brands like Urban Decay, Maybelline, L’Oreal, and more.

For the range of makeup looks and filters the app lets users try on, the app is responsive, user-friendly, and accurate. However, in order to access some of the premium features the users must get a subscription. YouCam Makeup Beauty Editor currently offers free trials for both Android and iOS users.

How can you build a user-friendly augmented reality app?

Developers can decide the purpose and niche of the AR app and build it using free or paid AR tools. They can also outsource app development to reputed agencies like Enhance

Before developing an AR app, companies should know the purpose of building the app. It is important to select the type of AR technology (location-based or marker-based AR technology) to build the app. This will depend on the company's niche.

For instance, a location-based augmented reality app that recognizes geographical locations and shows relevant information is beneficial if you run a travel company. However, if yours is a retail business, you might want to build a marker-based AR app that users can use to view 3D projections of their chosen products.

At Enhance we create immersive customer shopping experiences for companies using 3D and AR technologies. 

Next, choose how to build the app. Today, you can build an AR app from scratch for free using tools like Apple ARKit, Google ARCore, Vuforia, and more. The apps are easy to build and functional once you know how to operate the AR app building software.

However, many companies outsource building AR apps to third-party content creators. At Enhance, for instance, we create immersive customer shopping experiences for companies using 3D and AR technologies. We build custom AR solutions for your business' unique needs at a price point you can afford. Visit our page to learn more.

Web-AR :  The sensational and sensible ‘step one’ towardsbuilding a game changing AR app

Building an app right-off-the-bat may not be everybody’s cup of tea. C-suites and decision-leaders need proof-of-concept before moving forward, and Angels and Sharks will demand proof of performance before investing. Web-AR emerges as the simple solution to the riddle. Web-AR is a simplified web (internet) based augmented reality framework that delivers an authentic and immersive AR experience right off the universal web - without the need for apps, or for that matter, headgears and hardware.

Try this 3D and AR experience without apps. Click on "See in your space"

With just an internet connection, anyone anywhere can be a part of the visually spectacular and conceptually limitless universe of AR- on their favorite device. Building a web-based AR solution (such as the one by Enhance3D and AR Solutions, for instance) is not only relatively easier and quicker than rustling up an AR mobile app: It also reaches a wider audience, is compatible across devices and far cheaper to maintain – making for the perfect ‘pilot project’ or ‘test drive’ for managers and founders without previous AR exposure. For those considering taking the giant leap to AR apps, Web-AR can make that all-important jump from 0 to 1 layerless, seamless and effortless.

Starting your 3D & AR journey is easier than you think.

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