eCommerce is evolving radically, and market leaders are at loggerheads with traditional channels as they move towards immersive tech. The biggest reservation for an average shopper is whether the product they ordered will actually fit into their expectations or not. This led to limited opportunities for selling such products for newbies and innovative products. As a result, immersive technologies emerged as the most effective solution for both e-retail stores and their customers. They can help create an immersive reality where the customers can try out the items in an environment at par with reality.
Having said this, there are tonnes of benefits for e-retailers as they can level up their game by taking their marketplaces to your screens and beyond. Going to every customer or coming to your place costs both parties in varying proportions in terms of economics. The AR/VR or Mixed Reality can turn the tables as they give personalized experiences on a localized level. In 2020, the global AR market was expected to reach $18.8 billion. This article will explore the world of online marketplaces in the dawn of these advanced immersion technologies.
Buckle up to know more about the needs, trends, applications, and benefits in the below sections.
4 Areas Where AR/VR Will Change Customer Experience
Basically, we humans have a strong affinity towards understanding the world by sensing it physically. If I were to buy a product, I would always seek to interact with it before purchasing. When shopping online, you too will have reservations regarding the actual appearance, size, and compatibility with surroundings. Here, I have summarized four areas for you where the AR/VR innovations will break customer experience barriers.
Buyers can experience product visualization while exploring your sites.
The major setback to the customer journey is the problems associated with product visualization. Everything looks in photos, and many goods fall prey to the ‘everything looks good in photos and photoshop’ mentality. However, you can use HMDs (Head Mounted Displays) and interactive visuals on the device screens to your advantage. They allow your customers to capture the images of themselves/rooms where the software embeds the products. If you are looking for sunglasses, your phone camera can create approximate dimensions of your face and find matching frames. This feature makes surfing fun and dependable at the same time.
They can find the right products with the help of real-time analysis.
As I mentioned above, choosing the right product requires building trust in its utility for the end-user. Immersive technologies will leverage the augmented reality for placing objects in your existing adobe. Ikea is moving forward in this direction as its website provides a view of how its product looks inside your home/office. The ability to run real-time analysis is an unprecedented feature in the online marketplace universe. As a result, one can find the right match and confidently make purchases with speculations about expectations and reality.
Learn how to use goods while experimenting with new options
When was the last time you bought a new product which nobody in your locality ever used? Naturally, people become conservative when making such purchases. This makes online retailers find different ways of marketing instead of dealing with real problems. With VR videos’ help, the customers can see these products’ applications and operating methods for educational purposes. The companies need not send the demo teams repeatedly to explain the same thing or worry about customers forgetting it. They can experiment with the utility of the products without using them if it’s risky or costly to do so.
Fact Time: In 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus Virtual Reality for the price tag of 2 billion dollars.
Instill consistency in customer interactions
As the customers look at the merchandise with authentic features, brands can also create a consistent customer journey. The technological elements in AR/VR or mixed reality can take the branding game to a higher dimension as retailers create suitable environments. This also doesn’t require any heavy investments or consumes more time. Together, providing consistent engagement with on-demand availability will increase the scope of online sales.
Major Shifts In The Industry’s Tech Game
The E-commerce industry is a fast-evolving business, and technological innovations are more common than in any other sector. With 3D cameras, depth sensors, and projection technologies, we can expect a shift towards higher competition in displaying goods. Three-dimensional Holography will also arrive in the landscape as the e-retailers look forward to attracting more buyers. Capturing the products with such technologies and rendering them on the user devices will be the two major areas for innovations in this sector. Till now, it only focused on discounts and other value additions, but things are going to change pretty fast.
Omni Channel Commerce: The Era Of Immersive Innovations
A study finds that 78.65% don’t complete the purchase and desert their carts right away. Another study discloses that in a highly developed market like the United States of America, 92% of the sales happen offline. Currently, online sales are expected to reach 12.4% in 2020 in America. Perhaps, I feel that omnichannel commerce could be the next phase of the e-retail business. Your customers can use AR glasses to experience the products online and purchase them in-store at a nearby outlet. I also think that products like winter wear or monsoon wear will help make my point clear. You can select these clothing in realistic environments in closed chambers before making a purchase. Mixed reality will play a major role in cases like these.
One of the best innovations I expect in the days to come is DOOH marketing from online retail stores. Imagine a future where these online marketplaces will collaborate with the platforms next to your house and display their full range of products right away. Support channels can also take advantage of virtual reality tools for giving prompt service. Together, omnichannel pursuits will create greater convenience for the buyers shortly.
AR/VR Will Act As Sales Catalysts
Having an immersive tech dimension is observed to increase sales, and a majority of retailers are embracing this change. Recently, Adidas sold its shoes with the help of AR filters on popular social media platform Snapchat. Hence, there is a clear consensus on the use of immersive technologies by web-based stores. The costing is a point where both the buyer and seller sentiment goes hand in hand. Customers don’t need to experiment after paying, and sellers can demonstrate their products to every prospect. As a result, AR/VR will be a great sales catalyst for the online retail industry.
Two patterns are fast capturing businesses’ minds: the races to introduce new products in the market more often and reach every prospect. The economics, geographical accessibility, and feasibility are some of the biggest barriers in these pursuits. One also needs to consider the financial aspects of marketing and the ability to present their merchandise. Under these constraints, collaborating with immersive technologies will arise as game-changers for the online retail store industry.
Divyang Metaliya is a Business Consultant at FactoHR, an India-based HR and Payroll Software solution provider. He is a creative business strategist with more than 8 years of experience.