Augmented Reality is not a new concept - it’s actually been around since the late 1960s. But in recent years, advancements in technology and increasing familiarity have seen it used in a growing number of applications, including eCommerce, where it’s now one of the most immersive experiences brands can offer to the consumer.

That said, AR is still relatively new in an eCommerce context, and whilst it’s growing in popularity, many brands are wary of its implementation.But with strong evidence emerging that it can significantly boost awareness, engagement and conversion rates, it’s a trend well worth considering.

What is Augmented Reality?

AR technology allows us to bridge the gap between a physical space and the digital world, overlaying the former with the latter to create a multi-layered reality. With AR, we can place digitally generated content into our real world surroundings, enabling us to change what we see in front of us.

It’s this ability that makes AR great for eCommerce. It brings products to life, drawing them out from a flat screen and into the customer’s physical environment.

How AR is Changing Consumer Buying Behaviour?

Big name brands like IKEA started using AR technology back in 2017, with an app that allowed consumers to superimpose its products over their living spaces. Since then, its use has expanded across multiple industries, and for eCommerce in particular, it’s an invaluable resource.

IKEA uses AR technology specifically on their own app called "IKEA Place" allowing customers to see what products would look like in their homes before purchasing them.


With the pandemic taking away the ability to shop in person for non-essentials, AR has allowed brands to compensate. They’ve been able to offer consumers the insight needed to make informed buying decisions, by making products a part of their lives prior to purchase.

Take our client Wave Spas, for example. Early on in the pandemic, they saw how video reviews were impacting the success of the business. Director Tom Jefferys spotted the value in sharing a tangible, immersive experience, and how AR could be used to further improve the buyer journey.

Through AR technology, Wave Spas’ customers can now see how its products would fit into their environment, all from the comfort of their own home. With more and more brands offering this interaction, it’s becoming a consumer expectation that businesses need to be catering for.

Using the AR feature on products you are looking to purchase to see where the best location would be. For example: Tropical inflateable by Wave Spas

How AR Can Help Your eCommerce Store Grow?

  • Increased customer engagement - AR is not just useful. It’s also fun. Brands that offer these immersive experiences are not only capturing the attention of new audiences, they’re holding that attention for longer. Even if a purchase isn’t made in the first instance, this increased engagement means consumers are more likely to return to your brand in future.
  • A personalised experience - AR allows consumers to create their own experience. For example, a customer can visualise how a certain shade of makeup would suit their skin tone, or how a particular sofa would match their decor. This unique - rather than generic - brand interaction makes them more likely to buy from you, and become a loyal customer in the long run.
  • Enhanced content marketing - consumers are drawn to brands that offer varied, authentic content, and AR technology adds another avenue by which to connect. And because it’s so immersive, and unique in every use case, it creates a buzz that gives your brand a competitive edge.
  • Boosted conversion rates - AR keeps shoppers engaged with your brand for longer. The more time they spend on site, and the more product insight they gather in that time, the more likely they are to convert into paying customers.

How to Grow Your Brand with AR?

1. Offer Product Previews

As we’ve mentioned, this is one of the most effective uses of AR for eCommerce brands. Allowing consumers to place products in their own space drives engagement, but it also lessens the chances of them making the wrong decisions. As a result, you’ll get less returns and save on associated costs.

2. Use Social Media Filters

These add a bit of fun to your marketing efforts and get people talking about your brand. With consumers overwhelmed with brand messaging on social platforms, those that inject something beyond the norm are the brands that stand out from the crowd.

3. Provide Interactive Manuals

Another valuable offering for the consumer, manuals using AR technology are more user friendly than their printed counterparts. Users can visually explore how to put a product together, saving on time and frustration. And with such a convenient experience on offer, they’re more likely to rate you as their brand of choice.

No matter your product catalogue, there’s a way to use AR to drive awareness and grow your brand. And in an age where the customer experience is key, it’s a valuable resource to add to your eCommerce toolkit.

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