With the mushrooming of e-commerce platforms and the market reaching saturation, a fierce competition is widespread in the e-commerce space. It is difficult to retain customers, let alone find new ones to expand the audience base and market share.
Businesses need to come up with something innovative and impactful that catches users’ imagination while outshining the competition if they want to consolidate and expand their customer base. At the same time, they have to offer a shopping experience that matches even exceeds the offline shopping experience to attract more audience.
But is it that simple? Is it that easy to come up and offer something none of your competitors had thought of?
Something that users like and has never experienced before anywhere online or offline. Add to it the factor that in a saturated market, there exists an extreme scarcity of novel ideas. Anything new you come up with, someone has already done it in that space.
What if I tell you that the answer to the above question is ‘yes’? Believe it or not, it is very simple to come up with a unique idea when you see beyond the industrial boundaries of e-commerce and trade into the technological territory, where innovation is the norm. You get such innovative ideas, tools, and knowledge that take your business way ahead of the competition than you could ever imagine.
Deploying new technological solutions gets multiple benefits.
First, it brings a fresh experience unexplored till now whether by online or offline platforms. Thereby, improving your brand image by projecting you as, distinctive, thoughtful, and customer-centric. These are important qualities that customers consider while choosing their brand and making a purchase decision.
Second, new technologies help you offer better services bringing a clear edge over competitors who are still hesitant to utilize new technologies. These two are one of the most important aspects that make a successful brand.
However, there is a catch, you have to be an early bird and make the move before your competitors. Or else, you will be following them instead of them following you.
That being said, the next critical question is which technology to go for. Given the craze and success in attracting customers, the answer to this is Augmented Reality, which is winning the race hands down.
It ticks all the boxes and helps brand enhance their customer journeys in an end-to-end fashion. As a result, e-commerce businesses get a much higher conversion rate with way lesser returns compared to traditional business strategies.
You can easily integrate AR into your platforms with ready-to-use AR plug-ins like Vossle. Once it is there, you will see the great impact it has by meeting customer expectations. Thanks to its novel features like digital interaction and personalization.
AR helps businesses build a wide base of loyal customers by powering brand recall for a long time to come. Here we will discuss the various benefits of AR for E-commerce businesses one by one.
Starting right with a great first impression: because you will only get one
- 80% of the customers are willing to try new brands online, and 57% of consumers are less loyal to brands than before the pandemic, a do-or-die for brands. (Sitecore, 2021)
- 38% of shoppers only allow a brand a single second chance before switching to a competitor. (Sitecore, 2021)
Imagine a customer lands on your website and starts scrolling through the products. They like one of the products and tap on the picture to know more about it. To their surprise, an AR experience gets triggered and they can see the 3D model of your product right where they are. They can rotate the product to see it from all sides, place it in front of them, and understand how it will look and function when they will bring it home.
The user is instantly impressed with the uniquely immersive experience. They engage with it for a considerable period to explore and understand it. Such elaborate product interactions reach deeper levels of cognition leaving a long-lasting impression that etches into their memory. The experience stays way after the interaction is over and keeps powering your brand recall.
This is way better than what other platforms are offering through 2D content. Your brand is now being seen as innovative and distinct that never shies away from efforts to bring value to the users’ and goes a long way towards converting shoppers into your customer.
For a great online shopping experience that exceeds the offline counterpart
- Around three out of four consumers are willing to pay more for a product that promises transparency through AR (Deloitte, 2021)
- 49% of them want AR to see more information about a product and 42% want to view instructional guides through AR. (Deloitte, 2021)
One of the key challenges of E-commerce businesses is to offer an experience that at least matches the offline shopping experience when it comes to product interaction of in-store shopping platforms, if not exceeds it.
These stats we mentioned above clearly show how powerful AR is when it comes to offering distinctive and enriching shopping experiences. Through immersive 3D product visualization through 3D models that look and behave on par with your real-world products, AR brings the store to the customer without them leaving home.
Moreover, the AR experience gets you a high degree of creative freedom to take users’ shopping experience up by a notch. The 3D product visualization will come along with great features such as product demonstration, product interaction, and flashing product details for an experience that offline shopping can’t match.
Meet the expectations of next-gen customers and expand your audience
- 90% of leaders reported that customer expectations have increased to an all-time high (Hubspot, 2022)
- 76% of the shoppers believe that their favorite brands should reward them for their patronage. (Sitecore, 2021)
The times are changing and a new generation of online shoppers community is emerging rapidly led by youngsters. For them, shopping is not just a transaction but an experience and a way of self-expression. They have defined values and expectations from the brands and choose brands that align with their beliefs
They are technologically very expressive and like brands that bring technological innovations.
Majorly belonging to Gen Z, these consumers have many years of spending ahead with a hard-to-ignore estimated spending capability. For example, only GenZ will have a compound spending capability of around $600 Billion in the US.
So how to approach this tech-savvy audience of the young generation that has the power to make or break a business?
The answer is simple, Augmented Reality. AR helps you meet all these expectations of new-era consumers with ease and style.
Deploying interactable 3D digital models of your product and other immersive experience shows your brand in an innovative light. You appear technologically expressive to your audience and buying from you adds to their self-image of being technologically sound and active. Something, they could flaunt with pride to their online and offline peers.
Use AI-backed AR for Personalization
- 75% of customers are more likely to purchase if a company provides personalized recommendations (Hubspot, 2019)
- 91% of users said they are more likely to purchase from a brand that knows them and provides them with relevant recommendations and offers. (Accenture, 2018)
Augmented Reality experiences use Artificial Intelligence(AI) to offer highly personalized shopping experiences.
Smart AI technology runs on two levels environmental and individual. On the first level, it scans users’ real-world environment using their smartphone to accurately identify the object and augment them with digital elements. Users could see the digital object as if it is right there, specially placed for them to get a better idea of the product.
On the second i.e. individual level, AI accurately identifies the users’ body parts to place digital elements including wearables like sunglass, jewelry, jacket, hat, makeup, rings, and watches on them.
Moreover, the AI is also capable to offer smart suggestions as per individual user structures and features. The specified results match the likings of the users and lead to their faster and better purchase decisions and sales of the product.
Much Higher Sales Conversion Rates that you would expect
- Interacting with products that have AR experiences leads to a 94% higher conversion rate (Deloitte, 2021)
- Augmented Reality Boosts Online Shopping Sales Up To 200% (Forbes, 2021)
Time and again, AR has proven to be an effective and dependable tool to reach out to prospects. As we also discussed in the above sections, one of the main reasons is the clarity that AR brings to the customer through realistic 3D models placed on the user or their environment.
So, when users see this augmented experience through their smartphone they get a much better idea of the product on par with the in-store experience or even better. First, they are impressed by the experience as non of the online shopping experience ever provides such an immersive and dynamic experience.
Second, the experience can provide much more information that even surpasses the in-store assistance. AR can show the product details, its demonstration, its parts, instruction guide, troubleshooting, and way more information through 3D visualization. This powers customers’ purchase intent with the greatest boost possible. And hence, the high sales.
Outsmart competitors in the Saturated E-commerce market
The humongous success of first-generation e-commerce ventures led to a huge surge in new players entering the market. As a result, the e-commerce space is witnessing competition and the saturation level is at its highest.
However, this does not at all means that success is evasive in this field. These scenarios demand just one plain strategy i.e. serve unique and better than the rest.
With AR’s enormous creative potential, you can let users try as well as make real-time changes to your product to suit their tastes.
Such shopping experiences will dominate the non-interactive and non-personalized 2D experience of your competitors and bring you a clear edge. No matter how saturated the market is, innovation always beat the odds.
Reduces product return rates
- Online return rates stood at 16.5% in 2022 i.e. at around $212 billion of returned online purchases (National Retail Foundation, 2022)
- Shopify reports a 40 percent decrease in returns from 3D visualization.
Along the same lines, for offering clarity through deep product knowledge, informed decision-making leads to lesser product returns from the customer. This is a huge relief for e-commerce businesses given that e-commerce return rates can be 2x to 3x higher than brick-and-mortar stores.
Integrating Augmented Reality experience into your e-commerce platform can take care of major factors that lead to product returns. Such as:
- The product was not as they expected.
- The product did not function as they wanted.
- The product didn’t match your description.
Augmented Reality offers features that could take care of all these. First of all, 3d product visualization and digital placement in the real world align their expectations with the actual product dimension and feature.
Further, the digital product demonstration makes them better understand the product functions and decide whether it will serve their needs. Instead of reading the product description they can see it and go for the purchase.
Augmented reality is one of the best solutions to tackle the prominent challenges of an e-commerce business. It deals with the saturated market and cut-throat competition through the innovation of AR. It lets businesses offer fresh and unique shopping experiences that immerse them into a new reality and, more importantly, exceed the offline shopping experience.
With the simple and easy integration of AR plug-ins like Vossle, e-commerce businesses can offer an AR experience to the users landing on their platform and create a powerful image in the user’s eye.
It will help businesses attract new-age, young, and tech-savvy customers to help them expand their customer base, something very difficult yet important in a saturated market. It meets the expectation of these next-gen users through personalization and technological innovation.
As a result, businesses attain a much higher conversion rate, more sales, and reduced return rates to not just survive but thrive in the e-commerce space.