Why more consumers prefer online stores with augmented reality functionality and options

February 6th, 2017

Although most people associate Augmented Reality (AR) with Pokémon GO, more leading retail stores and brands are beginning to use AR to enhance the customers experience when shopping online.


mobile app developers


Even though online shopping is growing in popularity, retailers still face some challenges in winning over customers and scoring more sales, because a large majority of the consumers still prefer to be able to actually see, feel or try out a product before actually buying it. This is the cause for many customers exiting the online stores without making a purchase. Plus, the uncertainty when shopping online leads to billions of dollars’ worth of returned purchases each year.

This is where augmented reality can make the whole difference, and can take care of these problems for online retailers. More online store and mobile app developers are taking into account the fact that AR technologies and applications can allow the customer to actually visualize the product they are planning on buying on them or in their homes. According to a survey done by Retail Perceptions, 61% of the consumers prefer shopping from stores with AR options as compared to those that don’t.  Online stores which provide the customer with the chance to actually get the feel of a product in-scale and in their own environment are more likely to sell their products successfully and with lower risk of returns. The same survey shows that 77% of the online shoppers prefer to be able to customize their products and to see them change color and style and real time. This too is possible with the help of AR.

Also, AR allows retailers to let customers “try out” how something works, and to see how an appliance or new technology they are planning to purchase functions before purchasing it.

Some retailers are already partially or fully using AR functionality to better present their products and to successfully boost their sales:

Amazon allows customers to actually “visualize” the various brands and sizes of TVs it offers to see which one fits your available space and the style of your home best.

Lowe’s has developed Lowe’s Vision, allowing customers to “place’ kitchen appliances in their kitchens and can take the measurements of their kitchens automatically. WayfairView allows for the virtual placement of different furniture items in your home, so you can choose the one that fits your available size, style and taste best.

Gap’s Dressing Room app allows users to get a much closer look at the clothes with the help of virtual mannequins, which show how the clothes fit and how the fabrics and other details look. The problem with this app is that it runs only on Tango-equipped phones which are still quite rare. This Tango technology by Google’s Alphabet implements 3 cameras which help determine the size of your room and the furniture in it, and can scan the human body to get the correct measurements. This though is not offered by Gap’s app, because users are not yet too comfortable to get their bodies scanned and to get undressed to get a proper measurement of their bodies. Instead of this potentially embarrassing experience, users can choose from different sizes of the virtual mannequins, so that they can try out the clothes they have picked using AR.


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