Augmented reality by definition is an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved through the use of digital visual elements, sounds, or other sensory stimuli delivered via technology.
Augmented reality was originally developed for play; to elevate the way we engage with films, books, and more. It was the root of the Pokemon Go phenomenon back in 2016 with 232 million active users. AR was also used to create filters for Snapchat and TikTok. This technology is rooted in creativity, but is rapidly evolving and becoming a practical part of almost every industry.
AR use cases span a wide variety of industries. For example, it is being used in education to help medical students visualize 3D holograms to study the anatomy of various organs and see how certain medications can affect organs from all angles. The automotive industry is using AR to create heads-up displays to make drivers aware of potential hazards. And the retail industry leverages AR to bring the interactivity of in-person shopping to online stores.
This technology has grown to mass consumer adoption and supports a number of practical, business use cases. With a market forecast of $72.8 billion in 2024, we can only expect to continue seeing the evolution of AR impact our daily lives.
While not all AR tech solutions are seamless yet there are some truly practical business use cases:
With almost 80% of the American population shopping online, consumers are demanding a more immersive shopping experience. To allow consumers to try-on items before purchasing them online, retailers have begun to offer Virtual Try-On.
This feature allows consumers to upload or take a photo of their hand, wrist, or otherwise and realistically place the item on themselves. This feature is majorly used by jewelry retailers to place bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces on customers. Consumers can also compare products to everyday items including an iPhone, quarter, and more to reduce returns due to size discrepancies.
VTO has proven to increase metrics for online retailers. Jewelry retailer, F. Hinds saw a 19.8% increase in conversion rate with the implementation of Tangiblee. Additionally, Titan, an Indian watch retailer, saw a 7.1% increase in revenue per visitor.
Shopping online for home decor is very difficult for consumers. Ensuring that the style, size, color, and placement of furniture, lighting or wall art will fit into the room’s style and floorplan based on an online photo is nearly impossible. Room visualization through AR allows consumers to place items in a virtual room and provides more clarity as to how the piece will actually look in the consumer’s home, patio or office.
A new, innovative approach to room visualization (e.g. “Lifestyle Stacking”) even allows users to stack multiple home decor pieces from the same online store together in a single room, mixing and matching to confirm which products go best together. Customers can interact with various pieces within the room to curate their perfect look to increase cross-selling and revenue per visitor.
Another feature that goes alongside room visualization is Wall Art AR. This feature allows consumers to place the wall art on their wall at home to realistically visualize how it would look. Using their mobile device, consumers follow the simple instructions to properly calibrate their camera and the feature will place the artwork on the wall at scale. Consumers are able to feel more confident about the size of the item, the style, and the color.
The results from real implementations speak to the usefulness of room visualization as an AR use case: Online furniture retailer, Apt2B, saw an 11.8% increase in average order value. Coleman furniture also saw great results with room visualization reporting a 37.4% increase in revenue per visitor.
Gamification consists of adding gaming elements to something that isn’t typically a game to make it more engaging. An example of gamification is when a restaurant will reward you with points when you check in at a restaurant location. These rewards can then be used for a free meal or drink.
Brands have been using gamification to increase their marketing efforts and drive engagement. This is done through AR technology. AMC theaters launched a gamification campaign to promote upcoming movies by bringing the posters to life. Users could aim their camera at a movie poster and see the AR trailer for that movie.
Gamification has been proven to increase customer retention and satisfaction. Adding gamification to a marketing campaign can make the campaign more memorable for consumers.
During the pandemic, retailers pivoted and decided to bring the store to the customer at home. This meant that consultants would need to be able to present an item as they would in person to customers.
Signet, a jewelry retailer, did exactly that. The brand equipped their consultants with AR technology that would allow them to present a product to a customer and let them virtually try it on. The consultants are then able to see how the product looks on the customer and make recommendations to increase cross-selling.
Customers are still able to get a personalized luxury experience from home. This feature also allows customers who may not have a retail store near them to get the true experience.
Augmented reality technology can additionally be used to help train employees in the retail space. Retailers can put their customer service associates through virtual training where they will be fully immersed in a situation. These associates can also virtually see and try-on products without having to go to a certain location or warehouse.
AR technology allows employees to role-play a sales interaction in a stress-free environment. Employees feel more comfortable and confident with the products and sales pitches after being able to be immersed in the situation rather than just watching onboarding videos.
As you can tell AR isn’t going anywhere. AR technology has evolved from a high-tech interactive toy to offering highly valuable business use cases. It is becoming a part of everyday life more and more each day. It isn’t a futuristic concept anymore and you don’t want to be left behind. There are new use cases popping up every day in every industry. Want to learn more about how AR could impact your e-commerce business? Schedule a demo here.