Figuring out how to increase online conversions is a challenge retailers know well. While global online shopping conversion rates have been improving on the whole, 2018 saw 74.58% of online retail orders abandoned, i.e. not converted into a purchase, according to Statista.
Augmented reality, however, is poised to help online retailers overcome this obstacle for good. AR experiences are designed to deepen shopper engagement, enable greater personalization, and make interactions more memorable.
Here are a few ways AR for retail is driving more shoppers to buy:
AR experiences help buyers feel more confident
Is this jacket the right length? Will that sofa fit in my living room? Is this paint color too dark?
These are the sorts of questions that can keep shoppers from completing a purchase online. After all, it’s tough to make a judgment call based on a series of 2D product photos. And when it comes to larger investments — such as furniture and appliances — making the wrong decision can come with plenty of headaches.
Plus, when buyers aren’t able to engage with products before they buy, they’re more likely to make returns — which causes trouble for retailers. Returns are projected to cost $550 billion by 2020, according to data from Statista. And that doesn’t even include restocking fees.
AR, however, helps buyers “try on” items from home, in real time, which can ease their concerns and help them feel more comfortable placing an order. For example, consider the Ikea Place app, which allows users to virtually place Ikea products (in photorealistic detail) into their spaces. When people can see an item in their space first, they’ll feel more comfortable buying it. The same holds true when testing everything from clothing to cosmetics.
AR experiences can be personalized
There’s no denying shoppers like it when brands tailor their experiences to their wants and needs. Eighty percent of consumers are more likely to purchase with brands who offer a personalized experience, and 90 percent of consumers find personalization appealing, according to data from Epsilon.
These statistics aren’t shocking — marketers have espoused the value of highly customized experiences for decades. People like feeling recognized, and they’re more likely to pay attention to content that’s curated specifically to their preferences.
One of the greatest benefits AR offers retailers is the ability to provide personalization in more unique and exciting ways. For example, if collected analytics show a shopper has recently been engaging with yellow chairs (such as selecting yellow from a search filter menu and clicking on ads for yellow chairs), the brand will know to display yellow as the default color choice during AR experiences.
AR experiences help make brands more memorable
Consumers are exposed to thousands of advertisements and marketing messages each day. From the moment someone wakes up and reaches for their mobile device to the moment they flip off the television in the evening, they’re bombarded with information about various products and services they may or may not find relevant. As a brand, it’s exceedingly challenging to stand out from the noise — and even more difficult to ensure consumers remember what you have to say.
But AR can help make shoppers’ experiences with your products more indelible. When someone can visualize an item in their space or on their body, inspect it from every angle, and thoroughly explore its features, they’re better able to commit it to memory. (As opposed to a product photo, which is “seen” rather than “experienced.”)
Additionally, while more and more brands are leveraging augmented reality technology throughout the buyers’ journey, it’s still a novelty. Retailers who offer AR experiences can quickly differentiate themselves from their competitors. In fact, almost half of consumers are more likely to shop with retailers who provide an immersive technology-powered experience like AR, according to a survey by BRP Consulting.
Encouraging online shoppers to complete their purchases can be difficult, and the increase in abandoned cart rates is a frustrating symptom of the ever-crowded retail marketplace. However, AR experiences can provide customers the highly engaging, memorable, and personalized experiences they need to feel comfortable completing their purchases — and drive them back to your brand again and again.