In the wake of rapid digitalization and remote connectivity, multiple technologies have surfaced and submerged in the e-commerce industry.
However, post the hype created by Pokemon Go and Snapchat, AR has evolved beyond gaming and social media into a marketing solution for the rapidly transforming E-commerce industry. According to U.S. Census reports, the U.S. retail e-commerce sales for Q3 2017 was about $115.3 billion, advancing 3.6 percent from the Q2 2017. This figure, however, stands nowhere next to the $3.9 trillion current sales value in US alone, across over 1.1 million retail stores. There exists a brighter side to the story too. The E-commerce sales are growing and yes, at a staggering rate of 17% YOY, estimated to be $414 billion by 2019, according to a RetailNext report.
The Customer Acquisition Hack
Customers, owing to their intent of exploration, love to see how products appear in reality, rather than viewing product image sliders. E-commerce retail stores, be it the apparel industry, or the niche-home decor segment, customer experience takes a setback when products are not accessible, leading to higher return rates, and in turn additional shipping costs for the seller.
IKEA, a leading Home Decor and Furniture Company, adopted a revolutionary approach to leverage 3D Models back in 2013, through an AR catalog app, enabling customers to visualize how a furniture would fit and look in their home, and that too, while browsing across the product catalogue.
Shopping furniture or home decor products online can be a disappointing experience for an end-customer. It may be convenient, but yet again the stark reality is, products are being sold online through a number of images, supplemented with an engaging product description copy.
Consider a case when you, as a seller, have to promote a new line of products, say-furniture items, which you create under different configurations and dimensions. You ask for the customer’s requirement, on the basis of a readily available mockup. Once the customer finds a product which suits his needs, the details for different parts (e.g., legs, handles, etc.,) and materials to be used are selected. However, you cannot showcase the final product till the furniture piece is created.
If a TechRadar report is to be believed, the e-commerce segment is a fast-growing industry, but it succumbs to the main user interface of 2D webpages, which hasn’t changed much fundamentally. Online shopping is still a flat click ‘n’ order experience, with little interaction or product visualization, leading to zero social interaction, and in turn, a minimalistic engaging experience.
With the dawn of 3D furniture models, retailers can ensure a virtual environment, delivering an experience through a story, that the individual retailer plans to showcase for his product portfolio. Data61’s Adcock stated that the web browsers no longer require plugins to view 3D content, which in turn, has prompted multiple Companies to put full 3D scans of their products online, resulting in a better experience for the shopper.