How 3D and Augmented Reality Shopping Is the Future of Retail

Augmented Reality Shopping Is Transforming the Buying Experience

Augmented reality shopping is changing the way consumers buy products and services online, and retailers are adopting innovative ways to deliver buyers a satisfying AR experience. From interactive 3D models on ecommerce sites to virtual product try-on, brands are leveraging the latest technology to give online shoppers better ways to try and buy products. Already gaining importance before the pandemic, augmented reality has become even more important as consumers have shifted toward shopping from home. Brands adopting augmented reality are seeing higher conversion rates, higher average order sizes, and lower return rates. Here’s what you need to know about what augmented reality shopping is, how it’s being used in eCommerce and what you need to implement it successfully.



How Is Augmented Reality Shopping Used in Ecommerce?

Augmented reality shopping is on the rise, a 2021 study conducted by experience consultancy Deloitte Digital shows. Over 1.5 billion consumers now use augmented reality frequently, and 100 million consumers shop using AR technology. This number grew during the pandemic and is on track to continue to increase, with the number of augmented reality users projected to grow to 4.3 billion by 2025.

Several augmented reality applications have proven particularly useful for eCommerce. For some items, consumers can use augmented reality to see how a product looks on themselves or in their homes. For example, a footwear company can allow consumers to try-on a new sneaker and see how it looks on their foot from anywhere in the world – with nothing more than a smartphone and an internet connection. Another popular use for augmented reality is in furniture shopping. Consumers are able to select a piece of furniture and see exactly how it would look, true to size, in different areas of their homes in real-time.

Using optimized 3D models on your e-commerce site, you can provide shoppers with a 3D view of products or services from multiple angles. This can include the ability to see a product from different sides or zoom in to see key details. Shoppers also can see different versions of a product, such as different colors of a model. This can be useful for selling products such as clothing or furniture which come with different options. Augmented reality is also highly beneficial to the customer when it comes to outdoor gear, luggage, handbags, and other categories where understanding the size of a physical item is critical to completing a purchase.

Brands embracing these augmented reality applications benefit from the enhanced shopping experience AR provides. When consumers interact with products through virtual reality, conversion rates are 94% higher, according to data from eCommerce platform Shopify.


Who Uses Augmented Reality Shopping?

What kinds of brands are using augmented reality? Several industries have found augmented reality shopping especially suited to selling their products. These include beauty and fashion, furniture, consumer goods, and home improvement stores.

The beauty and fashion industries were one of the first sectors to seize on augmented reality. For example, shoe manufacturer Nike, long involved with AR, has recently developed an app that allows shoppers to use their smartphone cameras to determine the actual size of their feet, providing a better fit and reducing returns. Eyewear retailer Warby Parker lets customers use photos of themselves to try glasses on virtually. Cosmetics supplier Sephora uses facial recognition technology to let shoppers virtually try products on their faces.

Furniture is another type of product that lends itself well to augmented reality shopping. Wayfair’s app lets shoppers take a picture of their home and see recommendations for matching furniture.

Home improvement chain Home Depot takes this strategy a step further by letting users see a variety of items in any room of their home. For example, shoppers can see what a new appliance such as a refrigerator would look like in their kitchen.

These are just a few examples of industries that are benefiting from augmented reality.

What Makes a Great Augmented Reality Shopping Experience?

Delivering a great AR shopping experience depends on the right supporting technology. Products to be displayed through AR need to be digitized. One way to do this is by using images of a product for 3D model creation. A professional 3D modeling expert can take images you supply, along with other essential details such as product dimensions, and use them to generate a 3D model suitable for AR viewing. Another option is to have a modeling service scan in a sample product using a process called photogrammetry. Smaller products can be mailed in for scanning, while larger items can be scanned on-site at your location.

Once you have a 3D product model suitable for augmented reality, a 3D web viewer can allow you to display your product in a virtual environment. Shoppers can view a digital version of your product and see it displayed against their physical space using their smartphone or tablet.

To deploy these tools effectively, you need an augmented reality infrastructure that features:

  • Fast-loading 3D assets, so that shoppers don’t grow impatient waiting for models to load
  • High-quality/high-fidelity images which faithfully capture the features of your product
  • True-to-size representation gives viewers a proportionate sense of your product’s dimensions
  • Ability to zoom in and manipulate an object to see it from all angles
  • Flexibility to work on any device’s browser without the need for additional apps and plug-ins, so that you don’t exclude segments of your market who aren’t using a particular browser or app

Look for providers who meet these criteria.



Use Augmented Reality Shopping to Increase Your Sales

Augmented reality shopping has become more widespread since the pandemic, and will continue to grow in importance as AR usage increases. Retailers are using augmented reality to let consumers browse products remotely, preview products virtually, and even see what a post-purchase experience with the product would look like. Brands using these augmented reality applications are enjoying increased conversion rates, higher average order sizes, and lower return rates.

Effective deployment of augmented reality shopping depends on getting the technological side of the equation right. Technologies such as 3D model creation, online web viewing, and digital showrooms need support from platforms that provide fast-loading assets, high quality, accurate sizing, zoom capability, and multi-browser adaptability.

The VNTANA platform is designed to meet these requirements with optimized 3D technology which lets you build an AR experience your customers will appreciate. Schedule a demo to see for yourself how augmented reality can give your customers the ultimate shopping experience.