Nowadays, being successful at sales is so much more than just having a good product or offering a great service. That’s why companies have been using many marketing tricks and strategies in order to distinguish themselves from the competition and drive more sales.
With the rise of technology in the past few decades, large companies were among the first ones to adopt these new technologies. Over time, every new technology becomes more affordable and available, even for individuals as well as for small and mid-size businesses.
Such was the case with Augmented Reality, also known as AR. At first, it was just some futuristic concept, only found in Sci-Fi movies and some advanced research institutes. However, over time, AR became an essential part of many businesses, widely used in many industries.
But what’s the impact of AR on businesses? Does it really help increase sales? Keep reading to find out!
AR and Its Impact on Sales
When we want to assess the impact of AR on sales, we need to observe it in the context of different types of sales. Primarily, we want to distinguish physical from online sales. In other words, there is a big difference between retail and e-commerce and how AR impacts them.
The retail industry still relies on brick-and-mortar stores or person-to-person sales. E-commerce, as its name suggests, has fully embraced the online world, making its sales exclusively on the Internet.
But what does that mean for the impact of AR on sales?
The Impact of AR on Retail
First, let’s take a look at a traditional way of selling things - retail. When potential buyers go to the physical stores, they can see products in person and decide whether or not to buy them. However, even when a certain product is right in front of you, it is hard to tell whether it will suit your needs.
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Sure, when the product is a piece of makeup or some clothing item, it is easy to try it on and see if it fits. However, what if there are no free testers available or if every fitting room is occupied?
Being able to try on those products virtually can be a lifesaver in such and other similar situations. Additionally, when buying large furniture, it is hard to estimate how it will look with the rest of the house when you look it still in the store. Again, being able to virtually “try” the furniture can help choose whether or not to buy it.
Apart from allowing us to try different products, AR can also provide many valuable information. By hovering their phones over certain products, customers can read about their ingredients, production date, expiry date, technical specifications, and other information depending on the type of product.
Retailers have been using this option to educate their customers. When customers are well-educated about a certain product, they are less likely to return it after purchase. Toyota, for example, uses AR to demonstrate new technologies and features of their vehicles, which further sparks the interest of new buyers.
In case some product is out of stock, customers can use AR apps to access the product catalog and find that specific product. Then, they can pay for that product in the store, and it will be shipped directly to their address in just a few days.
Finally, retail stores can use AR not just for the products but also to make the overall shopping experience better and more fun. For example, they can use superimposition-based AR to decorate the store or even offer fun games for shoppers. Walmart collaborated with DC Comics and brought exclusive superhero-themed AR experiences to a few selected outlets.
While most retail stores still haven’t fully embraced the opportunities behind AR implementation, many have done so already. Sephora, IKEA, Burberry, and Fendi are only some of the big names that adopted AR, and other retailers will follow shortly.
As a business model, retail is here to stay because it still offers some benefits over e-commerce. However, in order to keep up with the times, retail had to adapt and adopt AR. So far, it has proved to be a good call because retail stores with implemented AR attracted more customers than usual.
The Impact of AR on E-commerce
E-commerce is already completely online. Hence, it is more receptive to technological advancement. For this reason, it makes no wonder that e-commerce was one of the first industries to implement AR.
E-commerce, while more convenient than retail, has one significant disadvantage against retail. Since the products can’t be seen apart from their pictures, many customers complain that they don’t feel the same connection as with physical stores. Additionally, it is hard to gather enough information about the product just from its picture.
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That’s why many e-commerce stores have been implementing AR lately. This enables them to show their products in the best light possible and bring them closer to customers than ever before.
Again, AR can show potential customers how a certain product might look in their homes or on them. Companies from the fashion and beauty industry probably benefited the most from AR, but other industries, such as the food industry, found similar success in AR implementation.
According to the Harvard Business Review, AR implementation can boost sales by up to 20%, while a study by Deloitte claims that customers are 30% more likely to buy a product on an e-commerce platform with implemented AR.
E-commerce has made it easier for many people and businesses to sell their products because it eliminated the need for physical stores that often come with high costs of rent and upkeep. However, this also created fierce competition because more sellers are now competing for the same buyers.
AR implementation helps e-commerce businesses stand out among many other similar businesses. Standing out is especially important in the early stages of starting a business, and it can make a difference between success and failure.
Additionally, what bothers many potential buyers is the lack of warmth and personality that comes with in-person shopping. Sometimes, all these products, with their pictures and descriptions, might seem unreal and not too appealing to buy.
With AR, many e-commerce shops have overcome these obstacles. For example, Tap Painter is an AR-based app that allows its users to pick the perfect paint for their walls. They can try out multiple shades until they find the one that suits them the best. Then, they can order that paint and have it shipped to their home address.
This is a perfect example of how AR can help e-commerce stores come closer to their customers and motivate them to make the purchase.
The Impact of AR on Sales in General
With all being said above, it is clear that the same AR technologies can influence different aspects of sales, depending on whether they were implemented in retail or e-commerce. However, the end result of said implementation is always the same: increased sales.
In retail, AR educates customers and helps them choose a perfect product, but it also brings novelty and makes the shopping experience more exciting. In e-commerce, AR helps customers try out various products, but it also makes the shopping experience more personal and warm.
Credit: Poplar Studio, Google Images
Apart from this, AR plays a vital role in marketing efforts as well, AR marketing campaigns are proven to capture the attention of the target audience. AR helps companies build their brand name and become recognizable, driving more sales than ever before.
AR-based marketing campaigns are still a novelty, providing a breath of fresh air among more traditional marketing efforts. People are attracted to novelty, which makes them more likely to buy the product.
Also, companies that can invest money and efforts into AR marketing campaigns are perceived as more successful and innovative than their competitors.
All in all, AR is a powerful tool that can boost sales, improve marketing efforts, build a brand, and create a loyal customer base.
Ways to Market with AR
There are several types of AR and even more ways to implement it into one’s marketing strategy. One of the most popular marketing implementations of AR is certainly through QR codes.
These QR codes contain AR markers, and when scanned, they redirect the user toward a web or mobile app, allowing the user to interact with both the real world and online content at the same time.
Another popular marketing implementation of AR is certainly virtual try-ons. These AR-based apps enable users to try on different products, such as clothes, shoes, and makeup. They are particularly popular in fashion stores, and for a good reason: virtual try-ons are extremely popular among customers, and they boost sales like nothing else!
There are also 3D models. They are three-dimensional images of various products that showcase said products much better than regular pictures. Many restaurants have started using 3D models of their meals in their menus. Such menus allow customers to take a closer look at the meals they will be ordering. Again, this feature was welcomed by customers, massively increasing sales.
Many businesses use AR to educate their customers about the newest products, innovations, or general product specs by superimposing vital information on top of the real product. Others use AR to create interactive posters or to engage customers in fun games.
As you can see, there are countless ways to market a product with AR. As AR technology evolves, it will offer even more opportunities to use it as a powerful marketing tool.
Credit: ZAG FIRST, Google Images
How to Implement AR in Retail or E-commerce
For large companies with large budgets, AR implementation is quite simple. They usually find an expert or a team that specializes in AR development and implementation. The said expert or team builds an AR app from scratch.
While this option can yield truly impressive and mind-bending results, it is both time and money-consuming. In general, this can cost anywhere between $7,000 and $250,000, taking up to several months. Small and mid-size businesses don’t have that amount of money, and they usually need results faster than that.
Fortunately, there are platforms that offer pre-built AR solutions for much more affordable prices. One such platform is CSCONNECT, a website that offers several different AR solutions.
CSCONNECT is perfect for businesses that want to implement AR without having to code and build it from scratch. Its AR solutions cater to all AR and marketing needs one small to mid-size business might have.
For example, CSCONNECT offers 3D models, virtual try-ons, virtual space, QR/AR codes, NFC solutions, and several other solutions. For businesses that aren’t certain which solution fits their needs the best, there is always a product specialist available, and they can explain every feature in detail.
Every listed solution comes with a unique pricing structure consisting of 3 pricing plans. All these plans are affordable, especially when compared with custom-built AR. The prices start at $39 a month, with the possibility of a 15% discount for those who choose to pay annually instead of monthly.
For businesses that want to enjoy all the features that CSCONNECT has to offer, they can access those features for $699 a month. That’s still a much more affordable option than custom-built AR, and it offers several different AR solutions.
Another great thing about CSCONNECT is the fact that it offers a 30-day free trial period, during which users can try out various free tools, such as the aforementioned AR try-ons and NFC campaigns.
Finally, users can track the success of their campaigns through the live analytics that CSCONNECT offers. This is especially important for those who want to experiment with different solutions and see what works best for them.
AR is no longer some futuristic technology only found in fiction. It is very real, and it already changed so many businesses. As soon as AR became more commercially available, large companies recognized its potential for boosting sales.
Slowly, smaller businesses recognized the opportunities behind AR implementation. Apart from improving the shopping experience and educating customers, AR is a valuable marketing tool that can elevate any marketing strategy.
Still, AR implementation is not always easy or cheap. Many companies are looking for ways to save money while still hopping on the AR train. One way to do so is to visit CSCONNECT and discover their effective yet affordable AR solutions.
So, what are you waiting for? Visit CSCONNECT now and let it help you boost your sales!