How Is Augmented Reality Affecting Online Shopping?

November 30, 2018         By: Rae Steinbach

E-commerce is gaining a larger and larger market share every year—in fact, its sales are expected to reach $4.5 billion by 2021. Online shopping options are obviously profitable for businesses, but they also offer customers new and innovative ways to make purchasing decisions. The increase in on-demand app development has also made online shopping even easier, further enticing customers to purchase products where and when it’s  most convenient for them.

That said, it can be challenging to provide a high-quality shopping experience in an e-commerce setting. In a brick and mortar locations, visitors have the opportunity to see goods in person and try them on, test them out, or otherwise visualize how they will be used. This is a major reason for the fact that online sales see much higher rates of returned products.

One innovative option online retailers are using to improve the user experience is the implementation of augmented reality technology, a growing market expected to reach $90 billion by 2020. Many businesses are beginning to leverage these capabilities for e-commerce stores in a variety of industries.


What Makes Augmented Reality So Effective?

Online shopping naturally comes with a few barriers to making a final decision. While there’s no single criterion behind any purchase, augmented reality can help customers feel more confident in what they’re buying. Many existing AR solutions offer convenient, easy-to-use tools that help convert online shoppers into customers.


Virtually Viewing and Manipulating Products

The essential possibility that augmented reality opens up is that of being able to more accurately envision how the item in question would look, feel, and work in person. In the case of furniture, for example, some online vendors now offer the ability to virtually place a piece in a room to get a better idea of how it would actually look.

This also allows customers to compare and contrast potential items based on a real sense of their dimensions and color rather than simply a single image. By giving customers the chance to view what an item would look like in their home, these vendors are able to eliminate much of the guesswork involved in conventional online shopping.

Some websites even include videos or other demonstrations that illustrate how a given product is meant to be used in a real-world setting. The ease and convenience of shopping with augmented reality will encourage website users to make more purchases, but it will also help more customers become comfortable with the idea of shopping online.

Augmented reality is a constantly growing field with new and unique applications being uncovered seemingly every day. These exciting, innovative utilizations are just the beginning of implementation on a larger scale. Leveraging augmented reality can have a significant impact on sales and conversion for your e-commerce store.

About Rae Steinbach:
Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.