Article overview

Redefining the Customer Experience with Augmented Reality

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You can upload a picture of your own living room to AllPosters and then place one of their posters directly on it.

One of the greatest barriers in e-commerce is that the customer never gets to try out the product before buying it, as opposed to shopping in a physical store.

This is why research, experiments and best practices often recommend large product images, product videos and 3D product tours to improve e-commerce conversions. All to simulate the experience of holding the physical product.

This will of course never come close to the experience of holding the product in your own hands, trying it out – or in the case of apparel, trying it on.

But with the rise of cameras in nearly every electronic device some smart retailers have found ways to use augmented reality to place the virtual products in the customer’s own life and environment. Let’s take a quick look at 3 examples of this.

Neuvo let you try out their watch on your wrist.

1) Neuvo

Watchmaker Neuvo have made an iPhone app that superimposes an image of their watches on your wrist. This way you get a feel for how the watch looks on your wrist.

2) AllPosters

Allposters lets you upload an image of your living room and then superimpose the selected poster on to your wall, giving you an opportunity to see how the poster’s composition and colors interact with the rest of your room.

AllPosters let you try out their posters on your own wall.

3) Glasses Direct

This is taken one step further by Glasses Direct that goes beyond mere 2D superimposing and let your try on their glasses in 3D using your webcam:

Conclusion

While the methods vary greatly in technical complexity, they all change the customer’s shopping experience in the same way: they let the customer see how the product will look in their life.

This technique is of course most profound for e-commerce stores selling products where aesthetics are a major purchasing factor (if not the only), such as art, furniture, jewelry and clothing.

I predict that we will see augmented reality be used a lot more by e-commerce businesses to further blur the gap between virtual and physical shopping.

Ben Mosher January 11, 2011 Reply to this comment

Hi Christian,

Just wanted to make you aware that the technology exists to try somethng on before buying it online. Please see our Virtual Fitting Room which answers the biggest question for ecommerce apparel—-i.e. “What size am I?” We will reduce returns and, as you know, 60% of apparel returns are due to improper size.
Would love to discuss our technology further. It’s working in Europe and soon will be here in the US. Please email me at: ben@fits.me

AugmenteDev May 25, 2011 Reply to this comment

Speaking of AllPosters we developed an Android application which is really using augmented reality to help you test the posters at home. Have a look at this video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dXif2XwvMY

It’s not the official application but it uses the whole database from AllPosters.

Matt October 10, 2011 Reply to this comment

I’ve never seen the AllPosters site before, very cool! For other readers interested in how AR is used in print media as well here’s a good example: http://www.pfsweb.com/blog/incorporating-augmented-reality-into-ecommerce-strategies/

Poly February 23, 2012 Reply to this comment

Great post. I really do believe that every advertisement made must come up with a very presentable images to get a drive for the consumer to take the product. First timers doesn’t get a taste or experience the product you are selling and that the clear images you put it is very vital to your sales.

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