When it comes to shopping online, there is no denying that it is convenient and convenient to scan through thousands of items and send them to your house with just a click of a button. However, there is a reason many people continue to shop in-store. For example, 33% of respondents prefer to view, touch, and interact with physical goods.
Compare this experience to that of shopping for the same item on an ecommerce marketplace. While it might be easier to shop for a new rug from the comfort of your living room, many people find it lost. This experience gap between online and in-store shopping is a choice consumers make for convenience.
When applied in the retail shopping experience, Augmented Reality (AR) superimposes the digital world into our physical reality. This technology reduces friction and bridges the digital and physical experience gap by providing consumers the contextual overlay they need to make better informed buying decisions that benefit both themselves and the retailers.
How does AR improve the retail experience?
AR changes our perception of our physical world by overlaying computer-generated information on top of our physical space, and this technology is especially powerful in an ecommerce environment where physical context is critical, delivering true utilitarian value.
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Consider youre interested in purchasing a new couch. Will the color complement the other furnishings in my room? Does a particular couch configuration match the layout of my room? Both experiences ignore the most important information consumers are looking for: how will it actually work in my house?
A web shopper may select a couch they like, quickly scan their room with their phones camera, and see a life-sized couch in their room. This photorealism allows them to see how the light reflects off the couch's cushions, zoom in on the leather wrinkles, and get a real-life feel for the furniture in their actual life.
For the first time, the immersive AR experience outperforms the physical by providing the contextuality that consumers need. Before they make a purchase decision, they can see the final outcome of the purchase decision. The experience of seeing the couch in the context of their room is transformed giving them greater confidence in their decision.
The psychology of consumers in AR and its impacts
AR is not reducing the value of the digital pie as we know it today, but rather extending the value of the pie as a whole. These powerful technologies transform consumer psychology in three ways: changing the ecommerce model from a push to a pull experience; increasing conversion by giving consumers visual context before buying; and giving consumers a new way of experiencing in-person shopping.
Today's Web2 is a push-oriented platform. Each website or consolidated platform dictates the standard consumer experience. Many shopping experiences today begin through a traditional advertisement a one-way push from the advertiser through an advertising platform to the consumer, in an attempt to draw people to their website or product.
Interactive AR encourages product exploration, where users may select the product and the features that are most appropriate for them and their lifestyle, rather than the most powerful product information that is dictated and pushed on the consumer by the company. This allows users to have a far more personalized and richer consumer experience based on their intent, while also allowing brands to customize intent-based customer journeys.
Imagine having the ability to mix and match various items, such as a sofa, a table, or a lamp from different brands, and viewing them in the context of your living room from your phone. This frictionless pull experience puts the power back in the hands of the consumer, resulting in more informed purchasers that make better buying decisions while also benefiting the brands.
Ecommerce sales are continuing to increase year over year. In 2021, ecommerce accounted for 19.6% of global retail sales. This rate is expected to increase to 25% by 2025. People want to experience the product. That includes touching the fabric, sitting on the cushions, and experiencing the scale.
Consumers can have a superior visual experience while simultaneously getting the information they need to make an informed purchase. According to the Snap Consumer AR Global Report, interacting with goods that have AR experiences increases the conversion rate by 94%. With AR, ecommerce shopping feels less risky and might increase its share of the total e-tail pie by even more.
Consumers will take this online shopping experience to the offline decision-making process if you can. For example, you might be able to see how an item will appear in your home while you are away from it.
This allows you to have the touch-and-feel experience of a store while also experiencing how an item you can touch in the store would actually look and feel in your real-life space via the 3D model. Consumers have the confidence they need when making big purchases, even when it is offline.
Consumer-driven is the focus of this next ecommerce boom.
The first digital version of a magazine was essentially a photocopy of each page of the magazine, uploaded to a webpage in the early days of the internet. Publishers were operating within the limitations that they understood: the physical 8.5 x 11-inch book. Soon they realized that the internet's connectivity allowed them to recreate the experience of a physical magazine in the online medium.
This is the same kind of seismic shift that this technology will bring to visual discovery. Consumers are the driving force in this new wave of ecommerce technology. The next generation of consumers is tech-savvy and grew up in the age of selfies and camera technology.
Gen Z, the global population born between 1996 and 2010, accounts for about 30% of the global population. This segment of the population is a good indicator of where the digital ecosystem will be in 10 years, especially when it comes to AR. 92% of Gen Z consumers want to use AR tools for ecommerce. Consumers specifically those in the younger generations will rewrite the traditional customer journey and reimagine it with the new capabilities that AR offers. In order to keep up, brands will need to adapt and adopt this new technology.
Avataar's CEO is Sravanth Aluru.