Covering Disruptive Technology Powering Business in The Digital Age

AR and 3D: The New Tools of Commerce to Attract and Satisfy Customers
March 24, 2021 News

Humans increasingly rely on their smartphones for essential parts of their daily activities. In fact, 3.8 billion people or almost half of the humans on Earth now own a smartphone, spending an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phones per day. This includes activities such as browsing, gaming or shopping, which have become more popular during the pandemic.

With the fear of contracting COVID-19, people are now buying more things over the Internet. According to a study, over 2.14 billion people worldwide are expected to purchase goods and services online in 2021. For the e-commerce industry, this means the competition is heating up and businesses have to find better ways to attract more customers and improve their online experience.

Customers take into account many factors influencing their purchase decision. Around 81.8% even said that they are looking for high-end images of their items to have a look and feel of their desired items virtually.

The high-definition images allow customers to view a product in 360 degrees. To realise this, companies are now utilising technological advancements in their strategies – such as Augmented Reality (AR), equipped with the 3D projection of an item through a device.

More commonly, AR is found in the gaming industry, with games such as Pokémon GO famously attracting 60 million users in its first year of release. In-game, players can catch Pokémon outside of their homes using their mobile devices, with the animated characters showing themselves as ‘augmented’ in the real-life world.

This gave a whole new level of immersion to users and as such, AR is now also being used in marketing in an effort to deliver a new and exciting way for customers to interact with brands.

According to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc., the global Augmented Reality market size is estimated to reach USD $340.16 billion by 2028, with people increasingly adopting AR-supported online platforms for shopping, education and social media interactions.

But what exactly can AR and 3D provide to customers? Let us look at some of the ways companies can leverage these technologies to attract more customers and improve their buyer experience:

  1. Try Before You Buy: More often, we as customers tend to be unsure as to what specific product should we buy. ‘Is this colour right for me’? and ‘How will this design match my body’? are among many other questions. With AR, you can now try the item that you want, projected in 3D – as much as you want. For example, Fossil lets you try their watches using your phone before you purchase them. You just pick your desired item, use your phone camera to show your wrist and that’s it – you are now wearing your desired watch.
  2. Going Into Details: Ever wonder what’s inside the item you want to buy or what their mechanisms are? With AR, you can finally answer this question. Some companies are now using AR to explain the details of their products, giving customers a more detailed view of what they want. For instance, Toyota released an AR app to let customers show the inside of a car, its internal mechanisms and other details important for a person in considering a product.
  3. Create Noise for Brands: Companies today are using more creative gimmicks to create a buzz and AR could help them with this by providing a more immersive experience. Pepsi did this with an interactive bus stop, where unsuspecting commuters and passers-by were surprised with a giant laser-shooting robot, a fiery incoming asteroid, a manhole with tentacles emerging and more. The campaign caused Pepsi Max sales to increase 35% year-on-year (YoY) for the month the campaign was live.
  4. Customer Assistance: For regular customers, companies are also utilising AR to improve their overall experience. Grocery shops use AR to guide customers inside while shopping, providing them details such as the location of items, discounts and other valuable information through their mobile phones.
  5. Add Beauty: Another innovative way to use AR is to add beauty to your products and services, especially for physical places such as restaurants and café. For example, Rekorderlig, a beverage company, used Magic Leap AR headset technology to project holographic imagery and light waves together in the wearers’ vision, blurring the line between the real and virtual worlds.

These are changing times – a world where everyday life is made better with smartphones. Especially in a pandemic, people want to continue doing things that they normally do, such as purchasing an item, in a safe environment. However, a simple click and buy just would not do.

Companies who want to accelerate their digital transformation and at the same time provide a better experience for their customers should consider such innovations, as AR and 3D technologies introduce a more immersive environment for consumers. In today’s business landscape, reimagining the ever competitive commerce industry with a digital lens is the way to go.