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AR Series

Getting Up and Running with AR Technology

By Tangiblee
September 1, 2021

When we talk about augmented reality (AR) with our customers at Tangiblee, we usually get one of two reactions. While newcomers to e-commerce are genuinely excited about the topic, the more experienced folks in the industry run away from us and hide 🙅‍♀️.

These reactions make total sense. The promise of AR is awesome — being able to try stuff on, at home, without dealing with the headache of physical things, germs, and cleanup crews? Yeah, that’s cool 😎. 

But who’s going to be responsible for implementing the tech?

You, your boss, your boss’s boss, your boss’s boss’s boss, your CTO, and a literal army of designers and implementation consultants. Oh, and did we mention that the process could literally take years to get done right, with a ton of wiggle room for unexpected errors?

Why AR Isn't Easy to Get Right

Getting up and running with AR involves a lot of moving pieces. First, you need to choose software that works for your shoppers — many of whom may not be technically savvy — as well as your company’s technology stack. There are a number of situational tradeoffs to get the alignment right, and you’ll likely need to do a lot of testing to avoid breaking your core user experience.

Then there’s the issue of product photography. It’s common for AR solutions to require CAD (computer-aided design) files for 3D, which means you’ll need to hire a designer (or a full team) to create either hand-rendered or 3D gallery images. To use Shopify AR, for instance, you’ll need to provide a minimum of six photos per product — potentially more

When you create 3D CAD files, you will also need to consider additional storage costs for your asset libraries, as you think through your budget.

Then, you need an AR player to get your CAD/3D files ready to display on your ecommerce website. That means staying on top of browser updates, as well as potential usability issues for the range of devices that are accessing your website.

If you have the resources, team, and expertise to execute a successful AR strategy, go for it — by all means. If the video gaming industry can teach us anything it’s that people love immersive experiences.

*However even if you have resources like Ikea this could still be the end result:

Hook Shoppers with Easier Tech

At Tangiblee, we spend a lot of time thinking through the core, human foundations of a powerful shopping experience. What we’ve learned, through years of research, development, and testing is that people like to keep things simple. The everyday shopper is not necessarily equipped, in terms of device or bandwidth, to navigate new technology. General market adoption for AR is likely still a few years away when your e-commerce store needs a solution to make digital shopping journeys better, now. 

You don’t need complicated, cost-prohibitive, and labor to create a mixed reality shopping experience that people love. When the pandemic hit in 2020, our product development team at Tangiblee created a platform to help online stores launch low-tech, AR-like virtual try-on experiences for shoppers. The software is up and running to support jewelry and watches. Here’s what we do:

  • Use 2D images from content that’s already on your product pages
  • Build an automatic process to support up to thousands of SKUs added daily (i.e. it’s scalable)
  • Create a fully-customizable  experience, configured to work with your brand
  • Ensure compatibility with every browser and platform, including Chrome on iOS and in-app browsers like Facebook Browser and Instagram Browser

Shoppers think they are getting an AR experience, without your e-Commerce team needing to invest in AR technology. Pretty slick, huh?

Let Us Help You

We’ve spent years down the rabbit hole of e-commerce experiences, mixed reality, shopper journeys, and tech infrastructure. Needless to say, we understand and can probably answer any question on your mind.  And if we don't answer your questions immediately, it's because we're busy researching and finding the right answer for you.

Did we mention that we love hearing from folks?

If you’re up to a good conversation, get in touch.

‘Til then, we’ll catch you by email next week.

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