If you’re looking to transform your e-commerce store and wonder how Shopify augmented reality (AR) experiences can boost your customer journey, increase sales, and minimize returns, you’ve landed in the right place. In this article, we’ll outline how to use AR way beyond the awareness stage and support shopper decision-making as well as foster advocacy. Read on and discover how other brands are leading the way and get key tips for effectively implementing Shopify AR experiences into your e-commerce strategy.

1. The benefits of using AR in ecommerce

Imagine being able to try on clothes virtually, seeing how furniture looks in your living room in real time, or even testing out makeup without leaving your house. Alright, there is no need to strain your imagination—all this is already possible thanks to innovative businesses that use augmented reality experiences to revolutionize how we make decisions and shop online. 

One of the biggest challenges for online sellers is their inability to offer customers physical interaction with their products, which is often what shoppers crave—especially when it comes to items with a higher price tag. 

It is also the area where AR can have the most impact as it offers the next best thing. Of course, viewing digital 3D objects through a mobile screen cannot replace the feeling of trying on real shoes. But AR is the only tech that provides enough dimensional context to customers so they can feel confident about purchasing online. Latest research has proved its ability to boost customer satisfaction and purchase confidence and reduce the likelihood of returns, saving sellers both time and money. Let’s look at the key benefits that you can reap just by using Shopify augmented reality experiences:

  1. Improved product visualization and customization. Augmented reality lets customers place products within their environment. This way, shoppers can better evaluate the dimensions or designs of interior items and envision how they fit into their living spaces. AR can also improve the shopping experience of various wearables. People can try on shoes, watches, and glasses and even experiment with makeup by mixing the physical world with digital layers in real-time. Customers can also customize products in AR. This way, AR surpasses what’s achievable in a physical store, where only a limited selection of items may be on display.
  2. Higher conversion rates. Consequently, better product visualization and engagement lead to higher conversion rates. Shopify reports an increase in conversion rates of up to 250% when 3D & AR is offered on product pages.
  3. Reduced returns. Now that your customers can see your product in their environment or try it on, they are more informed of the product specifications and can be more confident in purchasing online. As customers make more informed decisions, businesses experience fewer returns. Statistics show that sellers using 3D AR visualization strategies see a 40% reduction in product returns.
  4. Irreplaceable shopping experiences. As many online retailers slowly embrace new technologies, early adopters can use AR to distinguish themselves from competitors. The key lies in not regarding AR experiences as fun novelty marketing tricks. Instead, sellers should position AR as a crucial component of their customer success tech stack that aims to provide the best possible user experience for online shoppers.
  5. User-Generated Content. If you incorporate AR experiences into your ecommerce strategy, you’ll be automatically presented with a valuable opportunity for user-generated content. While your customers can interact with products in their own spaces, they can also share those experiences with their friends, families, and followers. As they seek input from others to make a purchase decision, they inadvertently create relatable content that builds social proof, fosters engagement, and builds trust amongst the online shopping community.

2. Current trends and statistics in AR ecommerce: 

The adoption of augmented reality in ecommerce is rapidly growing, with more and more businesses recognizing its potential. The global augmented reality market is expected to reach $198 billion by 2025, with ecommerce being one of the key industries driving this growth.

Several major retailers have already started implementing AR technology into their ecommerce strategies. For example, IKEA has an AR app that allows customers to place furniture in their homes, while Sephora has an AR feature that lets customers try on makeup. These success stories highlight the increasing demand for AR in the ecommerce industry.

Customer preferences are also shifting towards more immersive shopping experiences. In fact, 71% of consumers prefer to shop at stores that offer augmented reality experiences, and 40% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product if they can experience it through AR. These statistics demonstrate the growing importance of incorporating AR into ecommerce strategies.

3. AR inspiration for your to Shopify AR Shopping offer

While the statistics speak for themselves, below are some case studies to help illustrate the type of experiences you can use to make sure your Shopify AR shopping offer adds value to customers. Below, you’ll find three successful AR campaign examples that showcase how innovative brands   transitioned from using augmented reality as a mere marketing tool for raising awareness. Instead, these AR experiences have been seamlessly integrating it business sales processes, where they play a key role in driving sales

  1. Warby Parker, a famous eyewear brand, implemented AR technology into their mobile app. Customers can virtually try on glasses to see how they look on their faces. This AR feature has increased customer engagement, increased purchase confidence and hence reduced the number of returns.

  1. L’Oreal launched an AR app called “Makeup Genius” that allows customers to try virtual makeup, pick the best shades and make informed choices without going to a physical store. This app has been highly successful, with millions of downloads and increased sales for the brand. 

  1. Online furniture retailer, Wayfair, implemented AR technology that allows customers to place virtual furniture in their homes. This AR feature has increased customer confidence in purchasing furniture online and reduced the number of returns.

Try it out your self here 👇

4. How to implement Shopify AR experiences

Implementing Shopify AR experiences within your store is easier than you may think. Shopify offers a range of apps and plugins that can seamlessly integrate into your existing ecommerce platform—no development required. 

 

When choosing an AR app or plugin for your Shopify store, it’s essential to consider factors such as ease of use, compatibility with your products, the level of customization available, and the level of support you may require from your provider. You can even find solutions that let you try everything out for free and have excellent customer support, including Overlyapp. 

 

Once you’ve selected the right AR app or plugin for your Shopify store, it’s time to create engaging AR experiences for your customers. This usually means uploading 3D model designs of your products and configuring everything to your needs. 

 

If you do not have access to 3D models, do not worry, here is what you can do: 

  1. Ask the manufacturer—most products start with 3D creation and then go into production. This means that manufacturers can provide you with preproduction 3D models that you can use to visualize products in your store. 
  2. Ask the Shopify plugin provider whether they can create those for you—usually, AR providers offer a flat fee for creating 3D models or even do it for free, depending on how complex your needs are.

5. How to choose the right Shopify AR app

When it comes to selecting the Shopify AR app or plugin that matches the needs of your store, several options are available. The key is to consider what type of AR experience you aim to provide. These may include product 3D visualization or virtual try-ons. Here are some popular choices to consider:

  1. Overlyapp: With Overlyapp your customers can view 3D models of products in AR directly from the internet browser on iOS and Android devices. It is the most accessible and frictionless approach to accessing AR. No need to download a third-party app.
  2. Wanna Kicks: If you sell footwear, Wanna Kicks is a great option. This app lets customers try on virtual shoes using AR technology. It provides a realistic and interactive experience, allowing customers to see how the shoes will look on their feet.
  3. Auglio: If you sell makeup, skincare, glasses, or hats, Auglio is the best app for powering virtual try-ons of your products.

6. How to create engaging AR experiences

When creating engaging AR experiences for your customers, it’s essential to consider what customer pain points are trying to solve. Is it just a cool feature, or does it provide confidence in purchasing decisions? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Focus on usability. Make sure every AR experience is intuitive and easy to use. Customers should be able to find this feature easily on your website, and they should be able to access it in as few steps as possible, no matter what device they are using.
  2. Personalize the experience. If you sell physical items, allow your customers to choose your products’ color, material, and variations. This level of personalization enhances customer connection with the product and increases the likelihood of a purchase.
  3. Leverage social sharing. Encourage customers to share their AR experiences on social media platforms. This helps spread the word about your brand and creates a sense of excitement and engagement among potential customers.

7. Best practices for optimizing Shopify 3D AR content

To ensure your Shopify 3D AR content is optimized for the best customer experience on all types of devices and search engines, you can follow our best practice tips below.

  1. Optimize your 3D models. Ensure that your 3D models are optimized for use on the web store—same as images and video, 3D models can be optimized for faster load speeds and better render quality for usage on mobile devices. That means lowering the polygon count of 3D models, shrinking textures, and changing to mobile-friendly file formats. Always ask the app provider for the best specifications. If you choose to use Overlyapp, you can learn how to create 3D content in Blender for mobile AR projects.
  2. Test and iterate. Sometimes, getting the 3D model right requires time—suitable materials, colors, etc. Also, be sure to test which products benefit from AR experiences the most as sometimes these turn out to be the products you expect the least from.
  3. Provide detailed product information. Remember to include detailed product description on your Shopify store and mention to your customers that AR is just another avenue to explore the product. AR does not substitute for any other content your customers would usually appreciate to ease decision-making.

8. AR’s future and impact on ecommerce

As technology advances, we expect to see even more innovative AR features and applications in the ecommerce industry.

One area with great potential is the integration of AR with artificial intelligence (AI). By combining AI and AR, businesses can create 3D models with just a few product pictures—no more 3D modeling or 3D scanning. Also, AI will allow the products to interact with the environment they get placed in.

Also, as the younger generations are gaining purchasing power, they expect brands to use AR and want to shop with companies offering such solutions. Looking at the longer-term future, we see the development of wearable devices, such as Apple Vision Pro, Oculus Quest, Magic Leap, and many more. There is a promise that one day, we will switch from phones to wearables, and then augmented reality will provide even more realistic online shopping experiences.

9. Embracing the future with Shopify AR

To summarize, as online shopping continues to dominate the retail landscape, you, too, can implement Shopify AR experiences within your store. Various AR plugins and apps are now available that make it easy to integrate this technology into your ecommerce strategy. Whether you’re a small business owner or a large enterprise, an AR solution exists for you.

Incorporating AR into Shopify opens up new possibilities for online retailers. From virtual try-ons to detailed 3D visualizations, AR allows customers to see how products look and feel before purchasing. This level of interactivity boosts customer engagement and helps build trust and purchase confidence.

Yet, the impact of Shopify AR experiences extends beyond boosting the customer journey. It offers businesses an opportunity to dramatically reduce return rates and exchanges, preserving valuable time and resources. The only question that remains is— are you ready to embrace the future of ecommerce with Shopify AR and revolutionize the way you connect with your customers and drive success?

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