Augmented Reality – AR for short – will continue to gain momentum in the coming years. A lot of that excitement recently is thanks to Apple CEO Tim Cook saying that AR will be, “almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you.” That quote comes from a Bloomberg Technology article that dives headfirst into the big bet Apple is placing on AR. The Bloomberg article cites a Global Market Insights piece predicting the worldwide market for AR products will command a $165 billion price tag by 2024. It’s not just demand for physical technology that’s driving such an optimistic forecast, though. A huge driving force behind AR is eCommerce. Why is eCommerce doing so much to push the widespread adoption of AR? The answer lies in the question to the biggest problem online retailers face. Customers want to be able to physically handle, inspect and interact with a product before purchase. That’s physically impossible in eCommerce, and the act of going to a brick-and-mortar store is becoming less and less appealing to the younger generations. Enter AR. Retail Perceptions predicts that the AR business itself will generate $120 billion in revenue by 2020. That means AR is already here, and yes, it is changing the way customers shop online.
What is AR changing?More than anything else, AR changes a customer’s ability to interact with products before purchasing. If you’ve ever been stuck between two different products, read the reviews, asked around on Facebook, and watched YouTube videos of the products in use but still haven’t made a decision, you’re like millions of other shoppers. AR is – and can be for all eCommerce sellers in the near future – the missing link in that buying process. It eliminates that final pain point before purchase when a customer is hesitant to buy a product because they haven’t interacted with it yet. What’s interesting, though, is that the idea of AR isn’t new. As written in Forbes, “Consumer electronics have been on board with enabling ‘what’s the best sized TV for my space’ . . . for years. It could easily be the oldest application of AR in retail . . . You can even digitally test out paint colors on your walls without having to break out any paint.” But will consumers actually use AR? Or is this something only the tech-savvy crowd will use?
AR UtilizationThe same Retail Perceptions article ran a study of 1,062 online shoppers across the US revealed the following information:
- 40% of shoppers would be willing to pay more for a product if they could interact with it through augmented reality
- 61% of shoppers prefer to shop at stores that offer augmented reality, over ones that don’t
- 71% of shoppers would shop at a retailer more often if they offered augmented reality