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.
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.
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.
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:
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.