E-commerce stores are known to try many things in their endeavour to reach out to every probable customer on the Internet. Starting from the simple email newsletter announcements and advertising, to cookie based user tracking, to curated content and related social trends… The key question however is, how many users that they get to their site, do they convert into a sale?
How do you get the customer to buy branded stuff of your site only?
How do you ensure that s/he does not jump to the competition to compare price?
How do you ensure that the customer sticks around that much longer on your site to feel comfortable enough to make the purchase?
What can technology drive when it comes to a more evolved customer experience? Also, with more and more customers coming in to your e-store via Mobile and tablet devices, how does the game change?
Ikea is a brand that has been an early adopter of Augmented Reality, starting of with simple AR experiences on their printed catalog, and since then, moving to mobile-based AR interactions for customers. While this case still remains more recreational, the challenge will always be to take AR to a level wherein the augmented reality experience will drive the consumers decision to click the 'Buy' button.
At UserWorks, we were faced with the task of coming up with a technology driven feature to build on customer engagement levels with our e-commerce clients. The challenge was to come up with a feature that DOES NOT require the customer to print stencils for measurement and follow a complicated offline procedure, as that was like having them learn a new task, which really did not add value to the shopping experience. After some R&D, the team defined an AR experience that only required the user to allow access to the camera on their laptop or their mobile device to engage in the experience. The idea was to keep it simple.
A 'Try it on' feature on our client's website allows the shopper to try out watches on their wrists, to get an actual feel of how a watch they have shortlisted would look on their hand. One pain point most e-stores that deal in watches is the returns on purchases due to the watch found to be either too big or too small for the customers wrist. With the augmented reality experience, we have added a feature that allows the user to enter their wrist size and see a reference of how the product looks on them before they buy it. The number of cases of returns due to size and look drastically dropped within a few months of the web based AR feature going live on their site.
The 'Try it on' feature is currently customised for watches and sunglasses/eyewear, and can be further customised to support jewellery. The application is also available on mobile, allowing users to download their shortlists from the website of the client, and then try multiple products on mobile, and sharing it socially to get feedback that could also further influence the purchasing decision.
What AR does for the e-commerce brand:
- Offer customers a better experience online.
- Gives the customer the confidence that the brand thinks about them and their custom needs.
The next step in this journey is to look at the products a customer tries in AR and then building curated recommendation lists online, akin to a salesman in a brick and mortar store who judges what your tastes and preferences are by the first few things you look at, and then recommends something you may like.
The future of the e-commerce experience is clearly in AR. What remains to be seen is how amazing the augmented experience will be.
The UserWorks TRY IT ON plugin for websites and the mobile application is available for you to preview here.
The active e-commerce mobile application implemented by our client is available at the below link.
DiscountShop AR App