As e-commerce continues to evolve rapidly an inevitable side effect is: it’s getting more and more difficult for retailers to attract new customers and retain existing ones in this highly-competitive space.
To stay ahead of their e-commerce competition, brands must now provide a convenient and engaging shopping experience to consumers. One way way to do this is implementing immersive technologies into buyers’ shopping journeys. Immersive technologies that fit seamlessly into the online retail space include 3D product images, augmented reality, and virtual try-on. Here are three technology tips that can help e-commerce businesses not only survive but thrive.
Tip 1. Make the online catalog interactive and as informative as possible with 3D product images
Though e-commerce is a convenient alternative to in-store shopping, it still has its limitations. When shopping online, customers don’t have the benefit of seeing a product up-close or touching it to explore its materials and quality in detail. As a result, they often doubt whether the product is worth buying. This is where 3D technology comes into play.
Unlike flat pictures, product 3D images allow consumers to interact with products the way they would in a brick-and-mortar store: changing the angle of perception and zooming in to examine all the tiny details. 3D images provide detailed visualization of products, bridging the gap between online and in-store shopping and improving product perception. According to Cappasity, after embedding interactive 3D images into an online catalog, product perception improves by 23% and purchase intent increases by 29%.
On top of that, interactive 3D content boosts customer engagement, resulting in higher add-to-cart rates. An example of this is leather goods brand Claris Virot’s online store. The brand digitized items in 3D with the help of the Cappasity platform and embedded interactive 3D product images into their online catalog. As a result, Claris Virot noticed an increase in customer engagement. “Now our visitors spend an average of 19 seconds more time browsing products and 26 seconds more on the most popular bags,” said Jean-Christophe Ankaoua, president of Lion-Snakes (Marque Claris Virot).
Why is customer engagement so crucial for e-commerce brands? Data obtained by Cappasity shows that after embedding immersive content into an online catalog, the average time on a product page increases by at least 40%. Since the time a consumer spends in a shopping environment has a direct impact on add-to-cart rate, a 3D product image is an effective tool to increase purchase probability.
Tip 2. Provide consumers with an AR shopping experience
Augmented reality allows consumers to place their desired product in a real-life environment and get a more complete and accurate understanding of it. According to the research by Alter Agents, Snap Inc., and Publicis Media, 80% of AR shoppers feel more confident in their online purchases after experiencing the items through AR. It gives consumers the confidence that they’re making the right decision. That’s why, 66% of shoppers who use AR are less likely to return their purchases.
Many retailers have already implemented AR technology into their online stores to enhance customer experience. For instance, on Wayfair’s mobile app “view in room” lets shoppers visualize furniture and décor in their homes before they place an order. With the Wayfair mobile shopping app, consumers have the flexibility to choose from millions of furniture options, discover and visualize their favorite products, then design their rooms from start to finish. Such an innovative approach to mobile shopping improves customer experiences and helps brands build and maintain customer loyalty.
Tip 3. Bring the physical in-store interaction to online retail with a virtual try-on experience
Thanks to virtual try-on, online buyers can check if their desired clothes, accessories, or cosmetics actually fit them from the comfort of their homes. Virtual try-on technology uses AR which layers visuals over the real world via a device’s camera. Online shoppers get the opportunity to imagine themselves in a range of styles and sizes before buying, which helps them with their decision-making process and minimizes return rates. Additionally, try-before-you-buy allows brands to personalize the user experience and better meet the expectations of their customers.
Back in 2016, global fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff partnered with clothing try-on startup Zeekit (acquired by retail giant Walmart in 2021) to let consumers virtually try on items during New York Fashion Week. After uploading a full-body picture, a shopper could tap a product they saw online, in print, or in store and see how it looked on their actual body. The item could then be mixed and matched with pieces from different retailers in their virtual closet, shared with friends, or purchased through a link in the app. Virtual try-on brings physical in-store product interaction to e-commerce, making customer experiences more engaging and interactive.
To sum up, immersive technologies like 3D, AR and virtual try-on have the power to blur the line between online and offline shopping. By integrating immersive content into a website or mobile app, brands improve online user experiences, see a boost in shoppers’ engagement and, as a result, increase their online sales.