Covid-19 has disrupted and changed the way we live our lives. In particular, it has disrupted retail massively. In our blog posts, The Wheels of Change Continue to Roll for Retail and Our Shopping Habits Continue to Change, we highlighted the huge shift away from physical retail to online. Lockdown was a major driver for this but even with things starting to open up again, shopping is highly unlikely to return to pre-lockdown experiences. Social distancing and the measures that have come along with it have seen to that.

This has ultimately created both an opportunity and a challenge. With fewer people heading out to stores, retailers in all sectors have been forced to focus on their online shop fronts. They’ve had to find new ways of offering ‘in-store’ experiences online.

How do you stand out from the crowd and give customers an experience like no other? Help them understand what it is they’re buying before they buy it and remove any doubt that might come along with not being able to see and touch products before they buy them.

For some, this is less of a concern. Supermarkets have been selling products online for several years and there is less need to see and touch a can of beans before you buy it. You know what you’re getting, and you just throw it into the cart.

But what about those retailers selling big-ticket and physically large products? The good news is that technology is here to help you out. Augmented reality (AR) gives you what you need to be able to stand out from the crowd, let’s your customer experience your products in an as close to the real thing possible in the digital world and helps to relieve doubt and hesitation when it comes to clicking buy now.

For furniture, electronics and household accessories retailers, in particular, AR is a game-changer. Letting customers visualise products in their own space, making sure it’s the right size and fits with the décor of the room is a monumental shift from just having a few pictures, from different angles in a dressed set.

By offering AR you’re making your store more convenient to the customer, offering a truly unique experience that ultimately results in more sales and fewer returns.

 

Some Of The Biggest Players Are Already Doing It

For the longest time, people have been heading online to research products before they headed in-store to size them up. In this new normal, the second step of that process is becoming moot.

For thousands of people, their shopping experience begins and ends with online, but their expectations are for a better shopping experience than many are offering and those offering more, are succeeding.

Ikea heavily invested in Augmented Reality when they launched their Ikea Place app. It allows customers to do all the things we’ve been talking about. You browse the app, find the products and then try them in your space. It has been so successful for them that Digital Silk, a US-based Digital Agency voted them the most successful retailer during the coronavirus lockdown. It was because they were able to roll with the punches and “grow their eCommerce revenue”.

Ikea beat other retail giants including Nike, Lululemon and Steam to the top spot, with its eCommerce sales reaching 10 times their pre-pandemic levels in some markets.

Brabantia, known around the world for their kitchen accessories, has also successfully rolled AR into the shopping experience. I have used it whilst trying to figure out where to put a recycling and refuse bin into my kitchen. I didn’t want it to end up being too big or just the wrong size and shape. The convenience of their AR offering is that it happens directly from the website, without having to download an app I am likely to use once. Because let’s face it, how often are you shopping for a new kitchen bin?

And if you’re still not convinced it might be for your business, here are a few other things to consider. We curated a research paper on how augmented reality is impacting retail and some of the biggest callouts from it are:

 

  • 71% of shoppers said that they would shop more often if they could use AR.
  • 61% said they would choose to shop with stores that have AR over those without it.
  • 55% admitted that shopping with AR makes the experience more fun and exciting.
  • 40% of shoppers said that they are ready to pay more for a product if they were able to test it through AR first.

 

I’m Sold! How Do I Get It

 

The good news is that it’s easier than you think, the great news is you’re reading this on the blog of the creators of Ares, a market-defining AR solution for eCommerce.

What makes Ares so good is that our solution allows your customers to see what products will look true to size, without needing to break out the measuring tape or rearrange the living room, home office or bedroom. Just click the button on the browser from a phone and like magic, a digital version of the product appears before them. Incredibly detailed and lifelike, they can then get to decide where to put it.

And because the AR is embedded directly into the site it helps to remove any barriers for the customer trying to visualise the product and makes it a more seamless experience. No need to head off to an app store, get lost and then forgot what they were doing.

Ares is a total end to end solution for managing your AR models. If you need us to help create them, we can do that and then they’re loaded up ready to be placed wherever you’d like. Ares is totally platform agnostic and is designed to work with every eCommerce platform on the market. You can also place it anywhere on the site, it doesn’t have to just been stuck on the product page.

Writing a blog for a feature for the product? Stick in the AR experience. In fact, you’ll see that we’ve done exactly that below.

ACTIVATE AR

 

AR shouldn’t be seen as a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity. If you’re trying to keep up with the shifting eCommerce landscape and the demands of your customers, AR is the way to do it. Brands that adopt these new technologies now will be better positioned to thrive in the long run.

All that is left to do is take a closer look at Ares, then reach out and talk to us about how we can get it implemented on your digital store.