In today’s world, it can be hard to keep up with all the trends and fashions when it comes to technology. Just a short decade ago, we were enjoying life with a simple flip phone and thought we couldn't push technology any further. Now, here we are with the latest wave of smartphones while asking Alexa to order some candles for a birthday cake. In a way only technology can experience, we could now see the demise of e-commerce at the hands of Augmented Reality (AR).
In recent years, AR has grown significantly and one search on the App Store will show you its importance in what used to be nothing but a distant dream. Around two years ago, the AR movement began with Pokemon Go; an app that took all 20- and 30-somethings and threw them right back into their childhood. Today, the market is a battlefield with every developer trying to grab a slice of the growing pie.
Of all the ways AR has made an impact in recent years, it seems as though e-commerce will see the biggest impact. At first, this sounds strange because online shopping has been growing substantially year-on-year for quite some time. However, consumers are starting to revert to their original needs with shopping (i.e. interaction and hands-on contact with products).
In a world of scams and fake services, customers want to feel confident in their purchases so flat images with specifications just isn’t doing it. Instead, AR allows customers to take a product and see how it could be used in their lives. For example, when buying a sofa, customers can use AR on their mobile devices to place the sofa in their living room virtually. Suddenly, they can see exactly how it would look with the decor in the room rather than taking a risk and having it arrive a different shade to the picture online. Currently, more and more companies are taking advantage of this technology.
Amazon - Just recently, Amazon invested in AR technology so it can be used just as we’ve discussed. With thousands of different furniture, home decor, and kitchenware products available, consumers can click through and use the camera to see how it would look. Rather than imagining, we can see first-hand without too much effort.
IKEA - In truth, IKEA were near trendsetters with AR because they’ve been allowing customers this experience since the release of iOS 11. Once again, we can visualize how certain sofas or desks would look in a particular room.
Ray-Ban - These days, choosing sunglasses can be a real chore because there are so many options. Furthermore, we don’t know whether they would suit our facial structure until they’re on our faces. What better way to test them when online shopping than to try them on virtually. Without having to leave your home, or even leave the sofa, the ‘Virtual Try On’ feature allows you to use face-mapping technology to scan your face and then try on various pairs.
Sephora - In a similar way to Ray-Ban, Sephora can scan your face, map your eyes and lips, and then let you try on numerous looks. At the moment, the app is limited to eyeshadows, false lashes, and lip color but there’s no reason why this can’t expand in the future. With the virtual tutorials, you also get advice on applying the makeup correctly.
Considering we’re only at the beginning of the AR revolution, the options we have are vast. Already, experts are starting to rebrand e-commerce as ‘a-commerce’ and this wouldn't be far wrong. Often, you can tell whether or not technology will take off by assessing whether the large brands are investing in the idea. With Amazon, one of the largest names in the world, already rolling out AR features across their platforms, we can be fairly certain this is just the beginning.
Not only is AR going to make shopping easier than ever before, it’s going to enable better gaming experiences on mobile devices as well as aiding workouts and all sorts of other areas of life!