Augmented Reality Use Cases: Six Hot Trends in 2023
Augmented reality use cases have increased as more industries realize the value of this versatile technology trend. By overlaying digital information atop images of the physical world, AR technology transforms the customer experience in ways that bring big benefits to eCommerce brands.
Enhanced customer engagement, increased sales, and cost savings are just some of the outstanding gains companies are enjoying thanks to AR adoption. Here we’ll look at six of the most important uses of augmented reality in business in 2023 and why companies seeking to gain a competitive edge tomorrow are incorporating AR technologies today.
AR in Business: How Does Augmented Reality Work?
Augmented Reality (AR) enhances the user’s real-world environment by adding a digital layer of graphics or text. Unlike Virtual Reality (VR), AR technology doesn’t rely on external hardware like AR glasses or AR headsets. Brands can create AR experiences for online shoppers that are easily accessible via smartphone without any additional software download.
You’ve probably already encountered AR experiences on social media. Users on apps like Snapchat and Instagram can use digital effects to distort their appearance or make it seem like they are in a different environment. Social media is a popular consumer application of AR for entertainment purposes.
Businesses also can use AR apps for more practical eCommerce applications, deploying them as visual commerce tools. For instance, if fashion shoppers want to see how they’d look wearing a new hat, they can use AR apps to add a digital image of the hat to their selfie.
As this illustrates, the basic concept of augmented reality is simple, but this simplicity lends itself to a wide, powerful range of business applications. Industries from furniture and fashion to manufacturing have already incorporated AR technologies into their marketing and sales strategies.
Future eCommerce uses of augmented reality will continue to expand as AR content becomes increasingly mainstream throughout the economy, leaving slow adopters at risk of getting left behind.
Why the Future of Augmented Reality Is Now: Three Key Benefits of AR Technology for Online Retailers
The cross-industry versatility of augmented reality makes this technology more than a trend; it’s a game-changing transformation of how businesses engage eCommerce buyers. By letting customers view products through the lens of digital overlaps, AR tools are empowering brands to make the online virtual shopping experience more realistic than ever before. This is yielding big benefits, including:
1. Improved Customer Experience
Customers can visualize products in their own space before purchasing, leading to increased satisfaction and reduced return rates
2. Increased Sales
Virtual try-on options for products such as clothing and cosmetics encourage more purchases, bringing brands more revenue
3. Cost Savings
virtual product previews can reduce the need for physical samples and fitting rooms, slashing the costs of inventory, shipping, and rent
These are just some of the biggest reasons AR adoption is expanding annually throughout all sectors of the economy.
Six Top AR Use Cases in eCommerce and Retail
So how are companies using augmented reality in eCommerce and retail? Let’s look at six of the most important applications already in use today, which signal the types of future augmented reality use cases brands are likely to see from their competitors.
1. Retail Products
Through 3D modeling of physical items, augmented reality can be used in retail to create immersive shopping experiences. For instance, virtual showrooms can allow customers to visualize how products would look in their homes before purchasing. This has useful applications for retailers in a number of niches:
Examples of AR in Retail
- Clothing and fashion retailers: virtual try-on options mirror the in store experience and allow customers to see how clothing would fit and look on them in different styles and colors without the inconvenience of having to use a physical changing room.
- Beauty and cosmetics retailers: virtual makeup try-on lets customers test different products, colors, and shades before purchasing.
- Furniture and home decor retailers: customers can preview how furniture and decor would look in their own space before purchasing.
2. The Metaverse
The Metaverse is a virtual expansion of the physical universe experienced through technology such as augmented reality and virtual reality. Upon entering it, users can create their own customized avatars, explore virtual environments, and interact with other users. This lets retailers provide shoppers with a more immersive and interactive environment:
Examples of AR in the Metaverse
- Creating virtual objects: users can interact in real-time with digital replicas of physical objects, such as furniture, buildings, or other structures, as well as items such as clothing.
- Enhancing social experiences: Metaverse users can see and interact with each others’ avatars, making social networking more engaging and helping companies build digital communities.
- Creating educational experiences: virtual tours and simulations can let companies educate users about different places, people, or concepts in a more engaging way that lays the groundwork for informed purchasing decisions.
3. Marketing and Digital Advertising Campaigns
Augmented reality can be used in digital 3D advertising to create immersive and interactive experiences that engage users and showcase products in unique ways:
Examples of AR in Marketing and Digital Advertising Campaigns
- For example, an AR clothing ad campaign can let users try on virtual versions of the latest items and see how they’d look in them, providing an engaging experience that encourages social likes and shares. Cosmetics suppliers, furniture retailers, and other industries can use similar methods to increase ad engagement.
- By promoting engagement, AR ads can serve to encourage audiences to join social networks, visit websites, and register for email lists, promoting lead captures.
- Engaging 3D eCommerce campaigns further serve to drive traffic to retailer websites and sales pages.
AR demos can help marketing and sales teams reach C-level buyers with more persuasive presentations.
4. Entertainment and Gaming
Augmented reality can be used in entertainment and gaming to create new and unique experiences:
Examples of AR in Entertainment and Gaming
- For example, a game developer could use augmented reality to create a game that takes place in the real world, where players have to interact with their surroundings to progress through the game.
- Augmented reality can be used to create interactive experiences at live events, such as concerts or sports games.
5. Commercial Product Line Design and Manufacturing
Augmented reality can be used in the design and manufacturing process to create virtual prototypes of products, making it easier to visualize and test new designs.
Examples of AR in Commercial Product Line Design and Manufacturing
- For example, an automotive manufacturer could use AR to create virtual prototypes of new car models, allowing designers and engineers to see and test vehicles before they are built.
- Augmented reality manufacturing cuts costs by letting companies debug designs in the early stages of production before scaling up.
Challenges and Limitations of Augmented Reality in Ecommerce
While augmented reality confers many benefits on businesses, there is an adoption curve that requires overcoming several hurdles:
- Technical know-how: effective use of AR depends on specialized 3D file formats and software.
- Limited adoption by retailers: not all eCommerce retailers have implemented AR technology, which can make getting decision-makers on board a tougher sell in some niches.
- Compatibility with different devices: not all devices can run augmented reality applications.
- User experience and technical issues: augmented reality can sometimes be glitchy or difficult to use, leading to customer frustration.
Overcoming these challenges is, in no small part, a matter of choosing the right AR eCommerce provider. A provider who makes the process simple for you and your customers can help you shorten your path to getting up and running and realizing the benefits of AR.
Your Business Doesn’t Need to Wait to Start Benefiting from Augmented Reality
The potential benefits of augmented reality for eCommerce are compelling, ranging from enhanced customer experience and increased sales to cost savings. As adoption expands across all industries and businesses of all sizes, more of your competitors will gain an advantage from deploying AR.
The future of AR is being defined by businesses finding new creative ways to utilize AR to improve everything from production and marketing to user experience and support. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait to start seeing the benefits of AR.
The user-friendly VNTANA platform is designed to make it easy for businesses and their customers to start experiencing AR. Whether your company is new to AR or you already have existing 3D models you need to share with your customers, VNTANA simplifies the process of creating, optimizing, and uploading your AR files, so they’re ready for distributors and customers to view. 3D line sheets are generated instantly to share for internal review and merchandising.
The VNTANA web viewer lets you easily embed your AR 3D images in any platform through iFrames or APIs, so they’re ready to share through digital showrooms, eCommerce platforms, social media, gaming engines, and metaverse environments. Schedule a free demo to see how VNTANA can bring the benefits of AR use cases to your business.