Image of an iPad with an orange couch on the screen illustrating augmented reality

5 Ways to Leverage AR in eCommerce Marketing

AR in eCommerce bridges the gap between in-store and online shopping. Allowing customers to see how a chair would look in a room or how well a dress will fit gives consumers confidence and paves the way for sales.

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Augmented reality (AR) in eCommerce is more common than ever. AR helps bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping, giving customers a better sense of what they’re about to purchase and enhancing the overall online shopping experience.

Plenty of brands are taking note of AR’s potential. In fact, AR and VR are expected to become a $95 billion industry by 2025 — and now is the time for eCommerce brands to adopt the trend.

In this article, we’ll define AR, explain its benefits and highlight some of the most effective ways DTC eCommerce marketers can leverage this emerging technology.

What Exactly Is AR?

AR is a digital experience that merges the real and virtual world. Unlike virtual reality (VR), which requires a headset, AR typically requires only a computer or mobile device, making it more accessible for both marketers and consumers. There are many AR platforms on the market today, including social media apps like Snapchat and Instagram, web browsers and native mobile apps.

Benefits of AR in eCommerce

AR in eCommerce is a promising DTC marketing tool, but it offers a host of other benefits, too. Here are a few of the many perks your brand might enjoy when incorporating AR in your marketing strategy.

1. Expand Your Reach

When done right, an AR social media campaign is something your audience cannot help but share. The best AR campaigns are fun and unique, and consumers are usually eager to spread the word about them to friends and family. 

2. Increase Customer Engagement

AR is inherently interactive. Create an AR campaign for your website, and you will have visitors coming back time and time again to engage. The more time they spend on your site, the more likely they will be to make a purchase. They will also be more likely to remember your brand in the future.

3. Reduce Support and Return Costs

Using AR in eCommerce helps your customers make educated decisions about their purchases. They will better understand your product and be less likely to ask questions or make a return once the item arrives. By investing in AR, you can reduce customer support costs and minimize the costs of shipping and accepting returns.

How to Use AR for eCommerce

1. Virtual Try-Ons

Whether you sell makeup, glasses or clothing, virtual try-ons are one of the most effective ways to dive into the world of AR. Many customers hesitate to commit to a purchase without being able to try it on, but virtual try-ons give them the confidence they need to follow through.
Brands like Sephora use virtual try-ons to let web visitors envision how eye, lip or cheek makeup will look on them. The customer can download the Virtual Artist app, upload a photo of themselves, then go to town trying out specific products — no makeup samples required.

2. Preview Product Placement

If you sell furniture or home decor, AR technology can help your customers visualize your products in their own spaces. Preview product placement tools make it easy to see how products will look at home (and decide if they’ll fit) by creating a virtual mockup of the product in the room. 

Companies like Sony are using this type of AR to sell TVs, while eCommerce furniture brands like Wayfair and Houzz offer visualization tools that help customers plan their room layout before they buy. The Wayfair app even includes templates with titles like “Glam Living Room” or “Modern Bedroom,” which allow consumers to shop furniture from rooms designed by Wayfair professionals.

3. Social Media Filters

Social media filters are one of the most popular ways to embrace the AR trend. These filters enable users to put digital objects in a real-world environment. They’re often silly and attention-grabbing which makes them sharable and incredibly engaging. If you’re lucky, your AR filter could earn you millions (or even billions!) of impressions, and a legion of new potential customers.
Pokemon took the world by storm with its Pokemon GO app in 2016, and they have continued to create hype with their recent “Which Pokemon are you?” Instagram filter. Nike also jumped on the trend, creating a collection of bright, artistic filters in collaboration with visual artists. Both companies used their unique and interactive filters to increase brand awareness and build their online reputation.

4. Virtual Showrooms or Aisles

Some experts are calling virtual showrooms “the future of eCommerce,” highlighting the technology’s potential for homeware and fashion brands. Virtual showrooms combine the convenience of online shopping with the accessibility of an in-person shopping experience.

Customers can interact with sales associates, try on clothing, ask questions and learn more about the products than they would otherwise be able to while browsing the website. Brands like JOOR are using digital showrooms to streamline B2B sales and help buyers discover new fashion houses. Their technology allows users to schedule virtual appointments, create style boards and enjoy a more curated shopping experience.

5. Body Measurements

These days, clothing sizes vary drastically from one brand to another making it difficult for eCommerce shoppers to know how the clothes will fit. Fortunately, AR technology is swooping in to save the day. New AR applications take accurate body measurements to ensure customers get the right fit, every time.

Tapping Into the Power of AR

AR in eCommerce offers many opportunities for DTC brands, giving them a chance to engage with audiences in innovative ways. As this technology emerges, the sky’s the limit. So, get creative! Then, keep the momentum going by downloading our 2022 DTC Hype Report. Learn more about the emerging technologies, including NFTs and virtual goods.

Looking for more ways to grow your online store? Scalefast is here to help with all of your DTC eCommerce needs. Our specialized stores allow for seamless product drops or outlet sites. We make it easy to serve markets both domestic and abroad. Schedule a demo to see how Scalefast can help you achieve rapid global expansion.

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