Augmented reality in e-commerce is a trending topic these days. The coronavirus pandemic has led to brick and mortar stores heading to the online marketplace. E-commerce technology solutions also gained in popularity. Apart from digital marketing and SEO for e-commerce, other technologies can also help with your online stores.
What Is Augmented Reality and How Is It Used in Business?
Augmented reality describes technologies that add a digital layer to the physical world. It enables computer-generated content to virtually interact with the real world. Famous examples include Snapchat filters and Pokémon GO.
AR is a broad concept, and its usage can be divided into four different types:
- Marker-based AR: Marker-based AR involves image recognition of image content taken with a camera. Users use their camera to scan an object, and it can be transformed on the screen into an interactive model or widget. Snapchat filters belong in this category.
- Markerless AR: Markerless AI doesn’t use your camera for recognition. Instead, it generates content based on your location. The most famous example is Pokémon GO, where you needed to get to a specific place to find Pokémon. Often enough, they appear in some random places because there is no marker-based AR involved.
- Superimposition-based AR: It’s also based on object/image recognition, and it substitutes the original camera view with generated 3D content.
- Projection AR: This is the simplest type of augmented reality. It uses light that reflects off various surfaces. The best example is holograms often seen in science fiction movies.
AR found its way into many areas. Augmented reality e-commerce technology is on the rise, so let’s dive into its uses.
Current Uses of Augmented Reality in E-Commerce
E-commerce technology often refers to digital marketing tools. Still, AR and data science in e-commerce started to take off. Let’s check out the current uses of augmented reality in e-commerce:
AR Filters for e-Commerce Apps
The first item on our list is the simplest one. Still, it’s a great idea to raise brand awareness and reach people on social media. For example, Ben & Jerry’s launched an AR filter game on Facebook to promote the new ice cream flavor. Sure, it takes a bit of work, but the result is fun, interactive, and a great thing to share with friends.
Augmented Reality in Virtual Fitting Rooms
The lockdown has taken its toll on clothing stores, and many of them switched the emphasis to online retailing. The problem is that many customers are hesitant when it comes to online shopping for fashion items. It’s tough to see how it will fit them, and the process of returning the item is lengthy.
Virtual dressing rooms use 3D image generation for products in the store. This e-commerce technology takes the product image content and creates a 3D model of a product. It involves computer vision and AI in e-commerce. Customers can now see exactly how it will fit and feel more confident about the purchase.
Product Preview Placement
Product preview placement is similar to virtual dressing rooms. Instead of fashion items, users can check out how furniture, home appliances, and decorations will fit into their home. The application of this technology is more significant because it involves more expensive items.
Magnolia Market partnered with Shopify to let customers place the items from their catalog inside their homes to see how they fit.
Augmented Reality in Virtual e-Commerce Stores
Virtual stores are about taking the store to your e-customers. It’s the perfect example of innovative e-commerce technology. It uses 3D image generation to turn your bedroom into an interactive virtual store. With the help of computer vision and AI in e-commerce, customers can look at items from the comfort of their homes.
The Future of Augmented Reality in E-Commerce
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the development of e-commerce technology solutions. Augmented reality in e-commerce is still far from being the standard. The existing solutions are often clumsy, and they break the illusion.
AR goes to show the importance of data science in e-commerce. These solutions are impossible to implement without using AI in e-commerce applications. Computer vision and 3D image generations are the crucial aspects of building realistic AR experiences.
The future technologies will probably contain more of the following:
- Personalized shopping: How about a virtual store full of items you viewed, shown interest in, or the ones recommended for you based on your past interests? It’s the next best thing with AR and AI in e-commerce.
- Better e-commerce shopping experience: AR is not just for looking at products. It can be used to display all relevant information right there on your screen. You won’t need to check different tabs and screens on your phone to see if there is a size L available.
- Virtual assistants: Humanoid robots are challenging to build, but you can feature them virtually as shopping assistants. They can talk about the store, products, or possible discounts for the user.
How AI Can Help Generate 3D Images for Augmented Reality Applications
Talking about AR is all fun and games until the implementation turns out to be a nightmare. To effectively build AR visual content in e-commerce, you’ll need to perform 3D image generation on all products. The process is a painful one: each product needs to be photographed from all angles hundreds of times. Then the image content needs to go through editing before generating the 3D model. Imagine stores with thousands of clothing items; it would take days to take all needed photos.
This is where AI in e-commerce steps in as a significant e-commerce technology. 3D image generation powered by computer vision can form a 3D model out of image content. The difference is: there’s no need for hundreds of photos as one or two will do the trick.
The solution has countless benefits:
- Saving money on expensive photoshoots.
- The time needed to form all 3D models is measured in hours, rather than in days.
- No need for manual editing.
- The same computer vision solution can be used for all products.
3D image generation needed for embedding augmented reality in your store is an important step. If you’re considering opening your AR online store, contact SalesVision to help you generate all required 3D models. We provide all the state-of-art applications of data science in e-commerce, and we can power your online store in a matter of hours!
How COVID-19 Speeds AR Adoption in E-Commerce
COVID-19 is a crucial factor in the acceleration of AR adoption. E-commerce technology development was already progressing rapidly before the pandemic, and it just exploded in recent times. The reasons are obvious:
- Constant lockdowns and epidemiologic measures prevent fashion stores from operating normally.
- People spend more time than ever using their electronic gadgets.
- Many people would rather shop online than cram with strangers in physical stores.
Still, even after the pandemic is over, many customers will realize the convenience of online shopping. If you own an online store, every new feature you add will remain relevant for a long time.
There are many different types of augmented reality. Funnily enough, most of them can be used to improve customer experience in online stores. The core idea is to bring the store and your items to the customer. 2D image content doesn’t tell the full story about dimensions and how it will look on you or in your home.
The future will bring new developments. The leading retailers will create advanced stores that will appear more convenient than physical stores. Instead of having human workers in the store to ask many questions about the products, focus on it on your screen, and read everything there is to know.
The challenge behind AR is to generate the required models. However, SalesVision has got you covered on that one, and you’re just a message away from obtaining your realistic 3D models.