Augmented Reality in eCommerce

Augmented Realities

Augmented reality in eCommerce soon will revolt way we shop in the web. Growth of consumers’ demands, evolution of mobile devices and market capabilities lead to strong trends that make AR one of the major tools and platforms in tech world.

Big companies heavily invested in this new trend and in the past 2016 year total of funds rose up to more than $1 700 million.

  • Magic Leap has got from Google $800 million alone and 1.4 billion from others.
  • Apple has bought Metaio.
  • Facebook advanced Oculus which has cost them almost $2 billion.
  • Alibaba also announced that they are working on creating the Virtual and Augmented Reality services for e-commerce.
  • Other major players like Microsoft, HTC/Valve, Sony, Samsung have their own projects.

All of that makes AR slowly capturing interest of consumers and takes over mobile devices by creating connection between real and digital world. Meantime ecommerce companies may take their own role in all of this and rise up on tide of new tech, like Amazon using internet overgrown Walmart 20 years ago.

Key Trends In eCommerce

For last year online shopping market has reached the highest number of sales via smartphones and tablets. And there is no doubt that the trend would only grow by the time.

Past 2016 should be called as a year of ecommerce domination. One of the worldwide biggest retail brand Walmart announced that they have included in their plans to fund $2 billion to develop own online store. Amazon meantime overpowered valuation of Walmart. It has increased up to 42% sales of packaged goods to customers.

Walker Sands’ research

According to “2016 Future of Retail Study” more and more people start shopping online.

A little bit of Statistics

31% of customers shop online at least one time for a week 

Here it increased from 19% since 2014

But for ecommerce there are still other heavy challenges that should be solved to process further. One of them is conversions rate. Traditionally it stays low in range of 2%-4%, while traditional brick-and-mortar conversions vary in 20%-40% range.

There are various reasons for this, but the main problem is that ecommerce services lose to retailers in their sensory limits. As customers come to store they want to try by themselves everything they want before making decisions to purchase. “To try” means not just to see the product, but also touch, hold and wear. All of this is the key step to successful deal with a customer.

Challanges of eCommerce

54% of customers prefer visiting brick-and-mortar stores, because they can’t fully visualize products in online stores.

Nowadays ecommerce proposes good solutions to manage with that problem.

Augmented reality technology is for your service. While analytics herald that game and travel sectors win from AR take most of benefits, they also admit that it also would give a huge buff to ecommerce.

As mobile devices change the landscape of ecommerce market (eCommerce has reported about up to 34% of all deals in online shopping by 2016 and its growth up to $626 billion in 2018), augmented reality soon should change the way we shop.

Customers expectations

Here we see trends of growing interest among the customers to using AR benefits while shopping. Despite this the main cases to customers are still shipping, delivery safety and easy exchange. No one should ignore AR world trends.

63% of customers are sure that augmented reality may buff their shopping experience.

35% says that they would likely go shopping online more if there would be possibility to virtually try stuff before buying it.

22% would be less likely to visit traditional retail stores if AR would be available in online stores.


Today, augmented reality isn’t something from sci-fi books, especially for ecommerce. It was already developed more than 5 years ago in such a form as we know it. But it is still not adopted for large scale of needs, though we already have some successful ecommerce apps like AR browsers type like Layar, Wikitude etc.

There is no doubt that AR soon stops being a novelty and will become a common tool for day-to-day activities, like smartphones, tablets and drones. According to some researches it will already become true in 5 years.

$2 of each $10 spent in ecommerce sales (not including in-app purchase) would be thanks for using AR.

So ecommerce giants like Amazon, eBay and Alibaba, in pair with a pack of new players plan to start selling goods that new way. Redistribution of the ecommerce market in their spheres is inevitable, as well as growth of eCommerce’s market itself.

Other statistics data

In accordance with next information researches and trends support the main cases of this theory:

Digi-capital heralds that AR market sector would generate $120 billion by 2020, where ecommerce may have a part of 30% of it.

In close future neither AR nor VR as part of ecommerce will have a chance to completely take over the ecommerce market. Instead of this both of them may become an advantageous tool for sales in existing ecommerce ecosystem. So they would work in synergy with existing services instead of trying to completely replace them in one time.

In the nearest future audience of AR active users is going to reach 60 million. It mostly would be mobile devices and smart glasses owners.

Nowadays up to 900 million of mobile devices support augmented reality tech.

Meantime tools such as Google, Cardboard help users dive into AR easy and fast. By 2016 companies admit rising of sales to 500 thousand downloads. For the beginning of 2017, they have already over 1 million unit sales, as well as over 30 thousand rate apps to average 4.2 from 5 stars.

Psychology aspects of AR in successful marketing

Recently there has been an experiment conducted by Hidden Creative (UK) where products were demonstrated in two different ways.  200 parents had to judge what type of display was more persuasive: traditional advert for a child’s toy or its image as an interactive augmented reality experience.

Research conclusion clearly shows that AR marketing campaigns strongly overwhelm traditional marketing.

The most notable result are

Lengths that parents were interested in using each Ad

Traditional show was only 12 seconds.
While AR marketing up to 83 seconds.
So, it’s almost 691% improvement in capturing interests of consumers.

Parents who considered purchasing the toy afterwards

Traditional shows result that 45% of parents would prefer to purchase a toy.
Meanwhile 74% of AR users consider to buy a toy.
There are still 164% of improvements in marketing effectiveness.

General reaction to the retail price shown by parents

After looking at traditional 2D printed display adverts most of parents were ready to pay £5.99 for the toy.

In the other hand parents that use AR apps say that preferably the cost is £7.99.
It’s 133% of improvement in profit from each toy. And up to 291% of profit includes higher interest in purchasing among parents (74% to 45%)

In conclusion

Researches provide 5 main psychology cases why is Augmented reality growing sales:

1. A higher level of property

When consumers engage to interact with digital model of the product they feel closer relations with it, that to 2D printed image. Afterwards they start to feel some ‘property’ to the item.

Imagine the next situation: you choose from two different cups in the office, but you don’t really like both of them. Then someone comes and fetches one of them. You feel a bit upset, while in a moment before you might choose the taken cup.

People are very sensitive about the products they have already imagined to have in use. AR is able to help this engagement process.

2. An incredible storytelling means

People like to become part of events with some stories or news. AR helps to change any aspect into a multimedia platform and get anybody interested in. You’ll be crazy about that!

Examples: AR storybooks, AR real estate, AR furniture and custom products

3. Correlation: prefer things which are better for you

AR experiences are so charming and interesting, that you can’t help diving into everything so wonderful and unusual and get it real. A product that makes you feel happy, is a product worth to be bought!

4. Harmony: make distinct, fact based judgments

Everybody tries to feel safe, so it’s crucial to use previous strategies in AR marketing. With the help of AR service all products that are going to be purchased are deprived of doubts of the customers as far as a 3D visualization is used for AND test.

5. Social Evidence: if have some doubts, consult other people

Before choosing any product you can ask some reviews from those who has already bought it. Your mission is to consult other customers and make your own decision.  

Benefits of Agmented Reality in eCommerce

All those statistics, researches, trends and prognoses are needed for just one reason: to understand that augmented reality technology is fully suitable for ecommerce. In other words AR can increase sales!

AR can propose various features that may buff e-commerce.

Modify or Customize Selections

77% of customers prefer to use AR capabilities to preview product variations such as color or style differences.

Most of customers look for the widest assortment to make a choice between packs of goods. Before purchasing anything they choose all available colour selections and modifications of the product.

Typically, options provide customers with customization of a complex and time-consuming task. So nothing to wonder that customers want to get available something like that. From now on AR capabilities make it possible for customer to check the options and see personal modifications in online store.

Explore how products look like, and their features

40% of customers consent to pay higher price for any products they were allowed to preview by AR.

Big weakness of online store it’s lack of visualization. Sometimes online stores place images and videos about products. But despite the fact that such stuff is useful, commonly they do not enough fully understand sizes and features of the product. Customers prefer purchasing those products which they have tried.
Test drive of available cars in salon is the best example of how trials support sales.

AR provides customers with tips, extra information, animations and possibilities to interact, to show how complex products are. There is nothing special in case that consumers want to try things before buying them.

Provide the tactile feelings

Maybe online stores are convenient and don’t close for night hour, but till now they can’t give users that experience they may take in brick-and-mortar. Commonly customers visit retail stores to check and feel color and texture of products. And they pay more to pick such kind of stuffs, because they don’t really want to risk by purchasing things they can’t explore online.

But from now on AR technologies like haptography and Occulus Rift allow customers to try virtual models, and those technologies are becoming affordable as time goes. There are reasons to believe that such kinds of things would become no more special than home PC or Mac, and going shopping online would become more natural and comfortable.

Increase time that customers spend in online store

Average time that new visitors spend on a site is 2 minutes 31 seconds while returning visitors mostly double time longer – 5 minutes 31 seconds.

UK scientistic research says that consumers are more likely to spend time while interacting, playing or trying out AR model of a product. And that time rises more than 5 times.

Advantages of that case are oblivious. The more customers spend time interacting with the product – the higher chance that they decide to purchase it.

Imitate real in-store experience

Depending on the up-to-date research, 61% of the customers prefer purchasing goods in online stores that provide AR features, than those without it.

AR gives customers virtual in-store experience, starting from common chat with advisors to dressing up clothes or footwear (Topshop and Converse AR techs). Also any AR user may see 3D models of special furniture from any degree and even put anywhere inside his or her own house.

Help selling big things worldwise

72% of vehicle dealers among the United Kingdom hope that AR features help them sell their products in future.

In close range dealers expect to improve numbers of inventory in dealerships stores, while decreasing showroom numbers in the same time. But in the future there is a big chance to provide people with visualization of vehicle samples outside the real store.

Help strongly reduce the buyer’s doubts and return rate

45% of customers said AR features save their time to make decision.
AR technologies provide customers with the ability to observe 3D model of products in online shops, as well as customize it. A wider choice as well as more options give customers abilities to make wiser decisions and improve purchasing rate. Meantime it greatly decreases return rate.


Statistics obviously shows that consumers have recently trended to move to the electronic commerce platforms AR just to provide them with a few more reasons to do that.

Provide novelty to common actions

As age of technology conservatism is past by, people want to try new feelings and receive new experience even doing common things. Adoption AR technologies into online stores may be an excellent chance to overwhelm competitors and brick-and-mortar especially.

Shop whatever you want

Purchasing various goods from home already was available for a long time due TV market shows, and via internet, sure. Without leaving comfort of the living room, all-clock-round, despite the weather outside and traffic jams in the street, anyone may buy today anything he or she desires.

But the main problem in this way is shopping limits of visualization of products. AR has easily solved this problem. Mainly, AR gives a real-time direct or indirect preview of the product on the user choice. It also may change real-life space as well as improve it by using virtual features like sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

By using AR benefits customers can use immediate surroundings and even themselves test various things from clothes and jewelry to furniture.

Try safe zero-liability trials

See how would fit different furniture by simple click on your display, without any worry about delivery cares. Change your wall colours and styles as much as you need with no mess and backache.

AR provides its users with amazing ability to try AR changes before making any major decisions in their life.

Save shoppers from trailing

In stores customers usually check up every single outfit among all inventories they like, just to be sure it would be good on them. And everyone knows that it all takes huge amount of time.

With the use of augmented reality features consumers get a chance to save time and try everything they desire virtually, with the help of their own mobile device camera or webcam, even without leaving home.

Seeks how to enhance your eCommerce business?

Examples of AR tools for ecommerce

Augmented Reality tools for ecommerce are already among us for a while.

AR technologies slowly conquer the market, as well as change minds of customers and the way they shop. To be noticed in modern, heavy competitive world ecommerce players should look for something new and interesting. And AR is one of these things.

Companies such as eBay, IKEA, Alibaba have already used AR for their marketing and business strategies. That gives them amazing results, for example, IKEA reports says that their app has been downloaded more than 9 million times.

Meantime, as time passes there appear more companies to give ecommerce platform for the start using all AR benefits for their business.


AR browser was released in 2009 year. It quickly gained popularity and became the world leader among the field of AR market. From the start it has opened platforms for creating AR content to everyone around the world.

Major media like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The National, and BBC News have made a post about it. They told about AR itself, about development of Layar, its achievements and features that it brings.

Nowadays many companies and brands around the globe use Layar as one more marketing platform. Here are closer looks of best examples to study:

  • The 4th  biggest printed media in Europe, ANWB (Dutch autoclub) in connection with Layar application enchased pages of Kampioen.
  • Nissan, a famous automaker, has made a deal with Layar to create the major interactive campaign that includes up to 12 canadian printed media.
  • Glacier Media, one of the major canadian publishers, together with Layar has made interactive print that includes series of 12 daily and weekly newspapers.


Developed in 2011 Augmented offers new solutions, marketing and sales spaces to design and eCommerce. AR platforms try to connect physical and digital experience.

They also were noticed by major media such as ProductionHUB, PCMag, The Guardian, Entrepreneur and others.

Augment support helps various companies to represent different products and services. Here is a deeper look at the best of cases:

  • Captured Dimensions company with the use of Augment support expands its services to own clients. It provides ability for fans to scan the album cover of Anamanaguchi group to see 3D model of members of the band.
  • Turnstangen, a german company of gymnastic studios and children’s sandboxes, advances own estore with Augment technology integrated in it. Visitors of their website get a chance to select playground pieces they like and visualize them in real size outdoors.

Total Immersion

World leader companies specialize in virtual trials and AR solutions for e- and mcommerce, retail and brands marketing strategies. Total Immersion merges real things with AR special effects. First AR experience sprang to life long ago in 2004.

For nowadays companies have wide list of partners that include such brands like Toyota, Lavazza, Milka, e-Bay, Paramount Pictures, and others.     


The leader in virtual and augmented reality product visualization, Marxent proposes ecommerce its support for sales and marketing strategies. In partnerships with VisualCommeerce SaaS platforms boost augumented reality applications for retail and manufactures.

It has a wide range of 3D items, collections and styles to support brands for publishing their products to any device that supports augmented and virtual reality.

Marxent has been explored by media source such as Forrester, Dayton Business Journal, and CNBC. Also the major clients of company were ToysRUs, Simmons Bedding Company, Hammacher Schlemmer and AZEK Building Products.


Customers already learn and trust online shops.

Nowadays as world logistic infrastructure evolves, shipping to distant cities, sometimes even to foreign countries, it becomes a common thing. So there is no good reason to stay as an ordinary store anymore.

From clothes and food to jewelry and vehicles, online to door delivery is going normally. The main reason customers yet have not fully adopted to the eCommerce is that there’s still lack of touch and experience factor. And augmented reality will solve that problem.

Augmented Reality technology features open truly endless opportunities for E-commerce business. AR is able not just to provide a novelty to the online shopping but also allow to improve user shopping experience.

Related topics:

Augmented Realities