To boost their online sales, retailers need to replicate the sensory and social aspects of in-store shopping that customers value. This means creating engaging and personalized digital experiences that appeal to customers’ emotions and preferences. Ecommerce has been a vital part of the retail landscape since the 1990s, when the internet became widely accessible and popular. Online pioneers like Amazon and eBay introduced a new way of buying and selling goods that appealed to many consumers. From 1998 to 2019, U.S. ecommerce sales grew from $5 billion to $572 billion, driven by technological innovations such as social media and smartphones that made online shopping more convenient and accessible. Today, the use of augmented reality has accelerated this trend, as online shopping has become a necessity.
Augmented Reality: The future of online shopping and customer experience
Curbside pickup and online-only stores emerged as popular options, while U.S. ecommerce sales soared to nearly $959 billion in 2021, accounting for 21.3% of total retail sales. By 2025, ecommerce sales are expected to reach $1.8 trillion, or 23.6% of total retail sales. Despite the changes in how consumers shop, their expectations for a seamless and satisfying experience remain high. According to our State of Customer Experience report, more than half of customer support and marketing professionals anticipated that customer expectations would increase in 2023.
Customers still want the personal touch and the social interaction that they get from in-store shopping, but without having to leave their homes. To deliver on this demand, business owners and entrepreneurs should leverage augmented reality to create engaging and personalized digital experiences that mimic the best aspects of physical retail.
What is augmented reality commerce?
Augmented reality commerce enhances the online shopping experience by allowing customers to visualize products in realistic 3D models and place them in their own environment using their smartphone or tablet camera. It bridges the gap between the physical and the digital, bringing the immersive aspect of shopping to the online space through platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Shopify. These have been powerful customer engagement and branding tools, but they’re great for conversions, too. A customer interacting with a 3D product model or a virtual showroom can have a better sense of the product’s features, quality and fit and purchase during the session without ever leaving the screen.
There are three required elements for a strong augmented reality CX
Realism: Brands can create a realistic and immersive shopping experience by using high-quality 3D models and rendering that accurately represent the product’s appearance, texture and functionality. Customers can interact with the product in their own environment and see how it fits their needs and preferences.
Engagement: Communication about product features, benefits and reviews keeps customers interested and informed. A survey found that 71% of consumers would shop more often with a retailer that offers augmented reality, and 61% prefer retailers that offer some form of augmented reality over those that don’t.
Convenience: AI can quickly provide relevant information and recommendations based on the customer’s behavior and context. Customers can access the augmented reality experience from their own devices without having to download any apps or software. Furthermore, customers can easily purchase the product within the augmented reality session without having to switch to another platform.
The ultimate solution for hybrid shoppers
Hybrid shopping is increasingly common, with purchases made online and delivered to home or picked up in-store or purchases made in person, then enhanced with online post-purchase support. It’s important for these experiences to feel realistic and immersive to build a strong brand identity and offer a holistic CX. Businesses can use augmented reality commerce to replicate the physical store experience online and ensure that, wherever they are, customers can visualize the products they want and get the information they need right away. The importance of excellent customer experience cannot be understated: In another survey, 71% of consumers said they would shop more often with a retailer that offers augmented reality.
There are numerous benefits to adopting an augmented reality commerce model. It offers convenient, engaging service: customers no longer have to visit multiple stores or browse through endless catalogs because they can interact with 3D models of the products from their own devices. Today’s consumers consider their experience more important than the products they buy. Augmented reality allows customers to feel like they’re in a virtual showroom rather than on a website. The process shouldn’t feel like a simulation; it should feel like a personal exploration with a guide who can provide relevant suggestions and feedback. Humans are visual beings and want to feel like they have a connection with a product before they buy it and can trust that it will meet their expectations.
Drive conversions and sales with efficiency
Today’s customer journey is interactive. Customers aren’t satisfied with browsing through static images and descriptions online or waiting in line at a physical store. But that doesn’t mean they want to miss out on the social and sensory aspects of shopping, either. Customers typically use multiple devices to shop and brands need to be there to provide realistic and immersive experiences that appeal to their emotions and preferences. For example, customers can view 3D models of products on Instagram, place them in their own environment using their smartphone camera, and purchase within the app, a seamless experience that makes them want to shop again soon. Using augmented reality, business owners and entrepreneurs can drive conversions. Take product returns, for example. A recent survey found that 22% of online shoppers return items because they look different than the online images.
Statistics that reinforce the success of augmented reality
Our Customer Experience study found a strong correlation between implementing a mature augmented reality strategy and business success across a variety of metrics:
69% of companies saw modest or significant revenue increases
85% experienced a more satisfied customer base
63% were able to provide realistic and immersive product visualization in real time
A 9.2 Net Promoter Score (NPS) on average, compared to 6.4 with a less mature strategy
Boost your eCommerce success with Tulfa
Business owners and entrepreneurs are acutely aware of the importance of creating a realistic and immersive shopping experience and enhancing it with each subsequent touchpoint. It’s impossible to be successful in today’s hyper-competitive business environment amid rising consumer expectations without a strong customer experience program. Consumers are more likely to share great experiences publicly than bad ones, which keeps them loyal and satisfied and opens the door to attracting new customers. Success begins with augmented reality commerce and an augmented reality strategy that enables interactive and personalized product visualization on every device, every time.
That’s why many business owners and entrepreneurs choose Tulfa and its augmented reality solutions to create realistic and immersive shopping experiences for their customers. Tulfa offers a range of services such as 3D product modeling, 3D rendering, digital catalog, 3D virtual showroom and more to help you showcase your products in the best possible way. With Tulfa, you can provide your customers with interactive and personalized product visualization on every device, every time. Tulfa has a proven track record of delivering efficient and effective solutions to its list of clients across various industries. Whether you want to increase your sales, improve your customer satisfaction, or stand out from your competitors, Tulfa can help you achieve your goals with augmented reality commerce and strategy. To know more, write to us at: [email protected]