Chapter 4:
Augmented Reality (AR) in eCommerce

Augmented reality is one of the most important tools for 3D eCommerce. Let’s look at the essentials of AR eCommerce applications. We’ll cover how AR eCommerce works, how it drives sales and how to implement it in your business.

How AR eCommerce Works

Augmented reality overlays the digital world with the physical world through the aid of devices such as smartphone and tablet cameras and displays or AR headsets. This blending of the digital and physical allow your customers to place your products in their physical space and interact with them through their smart devices. AR may add other immersive sensory components such as sound and touch.

Applied to eCommerce, AR can let you:

  • Allow customers to virtually try-on your product and see what it would look like on their physical selves, such a 3D image of a shoe superimposed on the customers foot when viewed through their smartphone display  
  • Allow customers to select personalized options when interacting with a product 
  • Enable customers to test the experience of owning a product  
  • Allow customers to see your product in their environment before they commit to a purchase 
  • Show product information overlaying product images
  • Add key customer support captions to product images

These are just a few examples. Any image of your products or related items can potentially can be enhanced by AR to provide an interactive, immersive online shopping experience that begins to parallel or in some cases exceed what a customer could experience in a traditional purchase process.

How AR Helps Drive eCommerce Sales

AR propels sales by engaging customers in an immersive environment that enables them to picture themselves owning and using your products and services. The ability to preview options, test selections and see themselves using your product makes customers more inclined to buy and less likely to return the item due to improper fit or size. AR can double online sales conversion rates, according to data from AR platform provider Adloid.[1: Susan Galer, “Augmented Reality Boosts Online Shopping Sales Up To 200%,” Forbes, September 28, 2001,]

How to Implement AR eCommerce

To put AR eCommerce into effect, follow these steps:

  1. Select an AR adoption team leader to manage your implementation
  2. Set an AR adoption budget
  3. Review your operations and identify where it might make sense to implement AR
  4. Define goals for your AR implementation
  5. Pick KPIs to define benchmarks and chart progress
  6. Design strategies to achieve your objectives
  7. Choose supporting technology solutions
  8. Build optimized 3D models of the appropriate size and format 
  9. Track your performance against your KPIs to measure impact 
  10. Make adjustments and improvements

For best results, get all key internal decision-makers on board with your AR adoption plan, and consult outside experts if you lack in-house expertise with AR.