Look no further than Pokemon Go for an example of the power of augmented reality.
Offering both a contextual and personalized experience, Pokemon Go’s success was a ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ moment for global marketers and business owners.
Once considered a futuristic play-toy for geeks and nerds with virtual reality headsets, the unprecedented mainstream acceptance of Pokemon Go has alerted the business world to the potential of location-based applications with augmented reality overlays.
Could e-commerce be the next big frontier for augmented and virtual reality experiences?
Retail + Augmented Reality = Match Made in Heaven
According to a report from the Harvard Business Review, augmented and virtual reality is poised to disrupt the future of retail.
Offering everything from try-before-you-buy virtual experiences to augmented storefronts for e-commerce vendors, the potential of this technology is huge.
The ability to experience hologram effects while shopping on your favorite e-commerce site is sure to drive sales as real-life experiential interactions overcome any buyer hesitations customers may have.
As online business owners acquaint themselves with the powerful benefits of offering augmented sales experiences, adoption is expected to skyrocket.
Implications for E-commerce Vendors
No longer will you have to face outsized return rates or shopping cart abandonment issues.
Sure, you’ll never completely rid your business of these dreaded e-commerce components, but when customers can interact with your products in real-life via their smartphones or tablets, expect your return, exchange and abandonment rates to plummet.
Research showns that once consumers are able to interact with a product via augmented or virtual reality, they are much likelier to complete a sale.
Both your conversion rates and your checkout rates are likely to benefit once you integrate augmented reality into your e-commerce growth strategy.
Customer Acquisition Made Easy
Ever wondered where you will find new customers for your online business or how you will retain the customers you already have?
With augmented reality technology at your disposal, customer acquisition and retention worries just might be a thing of the past.
The ability to experience your product or service in real-time in an augmented environment helps overcome purchase pain points and adds a layer of social proof too.
When consumers are able to make a purchase via an augmented interface, they are much likelier to share their experience with their social networks.
Not only will augmented reality technology help you convert customers to buyers at a faster rate, social referrals will drive even more potential buyers to your virtual e-commerce doors.
The CLV (customer lifetime value) of your buyers increases as more referrals continue to come your way.
Localization + Augmented Reality
Just as localization drove hordes of PokemonGo players to brick-and-mortar businesses, it can do the same for e-commerce vendors.
The ability to determine your customer’s location based upon their interactions with your augmented interface provides you the perfect opportunity to tailor your e-commerce offers to their needs.
Think discounted shipping rates, mobile perks if they interact with your brick-and-mortar partners, or m-commerce incentives if they share your site with other social media users in their geographic area.
Platforms like FourSquare are already having huge wins using localization data — combine localization data with augmented reality and you can’t help but achieve ecommerce success.
The Future is Here
Augmented reality for e-commerce isn’t a futuristic ideal.
Search iTunes or Google Play for ‘augmented reality’ and you will see for yourself that AR apps are already available to consumers.
With everyone from game developers to car manufacturers offering augmented reality apps to their customers, the time is now for e-commerce store owners to offer AR interfaces to potential buyers.