This article will talk about augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology and the differences between them. We will also discuss the use of AR and VR tools for eCommerce businesses.
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As per a report by ResearchAndMarkets, the global market for AR and VR technology is predicted to generate a revenue of US$1,274.4 billion by 2030. In light of the ongoing pandemic, this statistic could indicate that AR and VR-powered software might continue to play a significant role in business growth. As a result, businesses in the eCommerce industry could consider adopting AR and VR technology and other integrated eCommerce tools to enhance customer experience and potentially boost sales.
Meaning of AR and VR technology
Before discussing how small businesses can use AR and VR technology, let us first understand the meaning of these technology with examples.
As per Gartner’s definition, “augmented reality is the real-time use of information” as sound, visuals, text, illustrations and many such virtual elements combined with actual real-world objects. AR technology only enhances your vision, meaning that instead of completely transporting you to an artificial world, it only offers you a different yet more enhanced visual view of a place or object. For example, brands like IKEA let customers see what a piece of furniture would look like in their homes using AR technology. IKEA app users can see a 3D image of furniture using their smartphone’s camera, which can potentially help them make better buying decisions.
According to Google, VR is technology that creates an artificial environment and makes users interact with objects and places without even having to physically visit them. VR technology generally requires a headset or some other device that lets users experience a completely different virtual world, which may be far away from reality. For instance, with the help of VR software, users can try on clothes without actually having to visit the store to gauge how a particular piece of clothing would suit them.
What is eCommerce software?
eCommerce software help businesses carry out the process of purchasing and selling products and other goods over the internet. According to Capterra, the general “features of eCommerce software are online shopping carts, flexible product category structure and search, customer account and login tools, and automatic customer notifications”, among others.
The difference between AR and VR in eCommerce
Both AR and VR are immersive technology that might help users in their purchase decisions. AR and VR might differ from each other in various respects, some of which are discussed below.
Current uses of AR technology in eCommerce
One of the biggest challenges of an eCommerce business might be to provide a complete sensory product experience. AR tools, in such cases, can provide solutions for eCommerce brands to help customers with purchases that might need extra contextual details. As per a report by Barilliance, “over 3/4 of shoppers choose to leave the site without completing a purchase”. This data could mean that eCommerce businesses might need to persuade more customers to make payments and complete their purchases, and one way to do this might be via AR tech.
AR platforms can help a customer make an informed purchase by giving more details and cutting down on the travel time it would normally take to go to a store. For example, before getting your house painted, you can check which colour would go with the overall decor of your home with the help of AR technology. In addition to this, brands such as Dior and Tesla are already using AR technology to provide an enhanced online experience to customers.
Current uses of VR technology in eCommerce
One of the important advantages of using VR-powered tools in eCommerce would be their ability to provide an immersive experience close enough to what an object or place would look like in real life. VR technology might also help businesses save on expenses for paying to rent showrooms or stores, logistics, and stocking inventory. Because of this, many eCommerce businesses could try and incorporate VR technology for cost-saving and better customer satisfaction.
Brands like Dyson have already adopted the use of VR technology to help customers experience their products before making a purchase. The brand has launched the Dyson Demo VR that would allow customers to understand the functionality of their products in an online environment. Other brands such as Ulta have also been using VR tools to connect with customers more effectively and simultaneously likely aid in increasing sales.
AR and VR-led tools might be relatively new technology for many eCommerce small businesses. However, they might help boost online sales and enhance the overall customer experience. For many eCommerce businesses, selling products and simultaneously gaining customers’ attention might be challenging. For instance, a product might look slightly different on-site from what it would look like in real life. That may be why technology like augmented reality and virtual reality could be seen as rising trends that could potentially help businesses gain customers’ trust.