Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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Imagine trying on a new outfit without changing your clothes. Imagine changing the color and style of your handbag with the wave of a hand. Imagine buying frames that fit your face perfectly, without entering a store! This is not a fantasy world, it’s what Augmented Reality shopping is, a new approach to shopping enabled by cutting-edge technology.

All you need is a smart device and internet

When it comes to online shopping, Augmented Reality (AR) pushes the boundaries of imagination. Virtual stores boomed during the pandemic but were unable to provide the same in-store experience until now. With augmented reality shopping, e-commerce sites can offer consumers the ability to virtually try on their choices to see how they look before making a purchase. It has forever changed the way consumers shop. From physical to virtual shopping. Out of the store and into their homes.

Try before you buy

With AR, it is now possible to try out clothing, accessories, beauty and even home furnishings online before you buy them. It personalizes the product to the individual shopper by overlaying it on their faces, bodies or home settings. Some apparel brands are even tapping into the latest AR technology such as body gestures and voice recognition, allowing customers to use their hands or voice commands to change outfits.

This personalization is not only fun for the shopper but also gives them more confidence in their decisions, driving incredible results. Snap research shows that AR delivers almost 2x the levels of visual attention compared to non-AR equivalents, leading to improved memories and more impactful connections with consumers. Consequently, AR-guided purchases lead to a 25% decrease in returns and interacting with products with AR have a 94% higher purchase conversion rate.

From discovery to checkout in one app

Snapchat’s Catalog-Powered AR shopping lenses are specially designed to offer customers a way to seamlessly interact with, try on and click to purchase multiple products within a single application. The app is making the customer’s shopping journey faster and more convenient than in-store could ever be. Since January last year, more than 250 million Snapchatters have engaged with AR shopping lenses more than 5 billion times.

For brands, AR renders endless possibilities and provides room to showcase their products creatively and as close to reality as possible with measurable results. Zenni Opticals – an online-only retailer of prescription glasses and sunglasses posted a 42% higher return on ad spend using shopping lenses with true-size technology. Their AR Lenses have been tried on over 60 million times by Snapchatters alone.

In-store has been revamped now to in-house

For the first time ever, you can choose new outfits, accessories, makeup or home products, take pictures to share with your family and friends to get their opinion and then buy what you like, all without leaving your home. In a global shopping industry study conducted with Foresight Factory, one in four shoppers said they would actually prefer to use AR to try on clothes virtually rather than visit a store to do so in real life. And why not, when you can try on all the latest styles and experiment with new products in the comfort of your own surroundings? Why not when online shopping is no longer limited to what looks good but also what looks good on you or in your home? The world may have become more socially distant today, but AR has brought shopping closer to home.

Authored by

Gaurav Jain, Head of APAC Business Expansion, Snap Inc

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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