Augmented Reality services have revolutionised E-commerce and brought customers closer to an in-store experience-by Mr Sameer L Kanodia – Managing Director and CEO of Lumina Datamatics Limited

by Mr Sameer L Kanodia - Managing Director and CEO of Lumina Datamatics Limited

The world of E-Commerce is evolving faster than other retail channels. Reports claim that 78% of all E-Commerce traffic and 66% of orders were on mobile devices, not desktop computers. The numbers haven’t shown any signs of slowing down during or post the pandemic. When it comes to retail, the tomorrow is indeed online, and significant
transformation is on the horizon.

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in customers changing how they shop and are preferring E-Commerce portals for their purchases. We can conclude that the covid-led disruption has driven the acceleration towards a more digital way of life.

Since most customers prefer shopping online, Augmented Reality in retail is vying to make it more user centric. With the increased adoption of smartphones and the power of the internet, more and more brands are utilizing the exciting benefits of Augmented Reality in retail to boost sales and increase revenue.

Augmented Reality (AR) bridges the gap between physical shops and online shopping portals; a gap that felt even more due to the Covid-19 pandemic limiting physical interaction. AR offers an immersive experience to consumers wherein they can interact with the product via any supported electronic device.

What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that overlays a computer-generated illustration in the user’s physical surroundings, thus providing a more accurate replica of reality. It uses digital data including photos, videos, and audio to achieve this.

AR integrates the virtual world  the real world and presents the user with a sense of seamless integration. These virtual assets might be in the form of 2D or 3D images, music, and films.

How AR can transform the E-Commerce Industry?

Online shopping peaked during the pandemic as people were forced to shop online, even for products they might have otherwise sourced from brick-and-mortar stores. As they got used to this trend, consumer expectations from E-Commerce stores changed drastically, and customers continue to demand a better experience. The growing competition has further forced online retailers to explore more avenues of improving the customer experience.

AR is one of the technologies that have the potential to offer customers a real-world shopping experience right from the comfort of their homes. This can open up a world of opportunities to E-Commerce companies all over the world.

The benefits of Augmented Reality in E-Commerce

1. Reduced return rates
Augmented Reality technology offers an immersive experience with 3D visualisations, virtual try-on and product demonstrations. It provides consumers with the unique opportunity to experience things before purchasing. As a result, AR helps combat high return rates as customers can make a more informed purchase.

2. Improve consumer relations
The immersive experience offered by AR allows E-Commerce companies to engage with new consumers and build lasting relationships with them. The improved engagements eventually increase conversion rates.

3. Enhances the customer experience
Through AR, customers can experience the products before buying them. This is similar to a personalised customer shopping experience. It is convenient for customers, and it enables them to make confident purchases. It is an added advantage for online shopping, and retailers offering such services will probably enjoy customer satisfaction and brand reputation benefits.

4. Personalised shopping experience
AR allows consumers to notice how products would appear to them in the real world. It allows them to try on the product and check how the colour would look on them and how the size would fit them. This can help address the issues with online shopping.Instead of witnessing mannequins wearing the items in an online store, buyers can try out the ensembles to evaluate which ones would look best on them.

Future of the Augmented Reality Experience
As customers are already enjoying the use of AR in stores, there is huge potential for more retailers to harness the different ways in which new technology can enhance customer satisfaction.

AR is expected to evolve in the future and power an omnichannel customer journey. Existing solutions will likely use complementary technologies, such as body scanners, for a better and more personalised fit. Furthermore, virtual fitting can become an indispensable step in the customer journey.

Digital transformation, catalysed by the pandemic, and retail must evolve in response. The future of retail will be a hybrid environment combining physical stores, online experiences, and advanced technology, such as AR, all integrated into one platform. AR has already demonstrated tremendous value in influencing the customer’s purchase decisions. Brands can further strengthen their AR capabilities and seamlessly integrate them into their offerings to improve the buying experience and be future-ready.

 

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