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Five Things You Need to Know About Augmented Reality

Salsify | August 16, 2018

No doubt you know quite a few things about virtual reality and how it's used now in the business world. However, how much do you really know about augmented reality? This category is related to VR, though more useful since it combines reality with the virtual.

Usually known as AR for short, augmented reality is already being used in online shopping experiences, plus offline shopping.

What does the future hold for augmented reality, specifically for online shopping? Take a look at these five things to know about what's occurring now and on the horizon.

1. Bringing More Product Visualization

The most important thing to know about AR in the online shopping arena is that it's changing how consumers visualize products. Before the age of augmented reality, customers had a lot of uncertainty about buying an item they couldn't touch.

Despite online shopping still being a popular crutch, a lot of businesses still feel the pain of abandoned shopping carts as the result of customers being unsure.

AR technology now allows a better visualization experience while shopping.

The point of augmented reality is to show you exactly what a product would look like in a real world scenario. For instance, a retail store selling furniture can allow you to upload a picture of your living room, then add the furniture within the space to envision a what-if reality.

This is just a rudimentary look at what AR can do in bringing more personalized shopping experiences.

2. How Chanel is Moving into the AR Arena

One of the world's best-known fashion brands recently moved into using AR on their website. In Chanel's case, it's being used to shop for their high-end sunglasses in an all-new way.

When you visit their website, you'll see how augmented reality works in finding the proper pair of sunglasses. Prior, shopping for eyewear online was always one of the biggest gambles. While many online stores manage to provide size information and 360-degree views of products, it's what it looks like on you that truly matters.

Chanel fixed this problem by allowing you to upload an image of your face. Then you can superimpose numerous pairs of their sunglasses over your face to see what you'd look like.

It's a major step forward in augmented reality we'll likely see copied by other fashion brands, big and small.

Keep in mind this is just one small part of Chanel's effort in bringing innovative digital marketing. They managed to up their revenue 11% this year as a result.

3. How Wayfair Uses AR for Online Furniture Sales

With our mention above of how AR can make online shopping for furniture so much easier, Wayfair seemed to listen to consumers. Now the popular furniture store is doing the same thing through their own app.

Introduced almost a year ago, their "View in Room 3D" tool is available through iOS 11, allowing consumers to view what furniture would look like in their homes through vivid 3D. Having this available as a mobile app ups the ante in augmented reality so shoppers can additionally use it in-store.

Or, they can simply shop through Wayfair's site remotely and upload images of a particular room. Thanks to the 3D technology advancements, it truly does give a realistic view of what Wayfair furniture looks like in any living space.

What makes this more advanced is the ability to easily move the furniture around to other spots in the room image. You can even "walk" around the furniture to see what it looks like in your room at any possible angle.

The creation of a reality that's truly believable is what makes AR so important now in the online shopping experience. However, as mentioned, it also helps consumers make faster buying decisions while in-store simply by using their mobile devices.

4. Apple Moving into the AR Fray

This last June, Apple announced they're moving into using AR to help pave the future of their own technology fortunes. At the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple deemed AR "transformational technology", capable of changing online experiences as we've known them for years.

No doubt they've seen what companies like Wayfair and Chanel have already done, including various other online brands.

The intention of Apple is to make AR available through a file format called USDZ. Software companies like Adobe are already starting to employ this format, soon making it an open technology usable in more ways than online shopping.

Even more important is Apple has an AR-driven app now called Measure. Online retail stores of any budget can now tap this app resource to incorporate augmented reality into the general shopping experience.

Seeing Apple delving into AR, you know the future looks extremely bright and intriguing for this technology. What might the future hold for AR in bringing even more personalized shopping for online visitors?

5. The Future of AR Technology for Online Shopping

Did you know Snapchat was one of the first companies that offered the use of AR to advertisers for use in their ads? This was only a few years ago. Since then, AR has advanced steadily to bringing more realism and creative opportunity to all industries, including online retailers.

Many online stores want to place AR at the bottom of the marketing funnel now rather than at the top as it was in the beginning. The point being, they want to use AR to convince consumers to buy products immediately.

Thanks to the realism used, and easier ability to upload images of your face or living spaces, AR has more immediacy and convenience.

Also, with mobile tech once being slightly more awkward for online shopping, using AR there will make more people want to do mobile shopping. Retailers like you will love this, especially when trying to attract specific demographics during times you're promoting sales events.

Despite holiday shopping always being huge, it could turn online shopping into a multi-billion-dollar market before the coming decade.

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