This is an example of a 3D model of the product available in the AR product configurator. And it redefines the way people buy things dramatically.
Shopping Before Covid: How Did People Choose a Pair of Shoes 5 Years Ago?
The majority of people would go to the local shopping mall to try 3-5 different pairs until they could find the one that would fit the most. At that time, the main task of any retailer was to provide customers with the most outstanding choice of goods offline.
Whereas the digital strategy of retail and e-commerce businesses was based on having a working website and listing products on it. Few people used any other tools, and that was enough. The majority would still prefer to go to this mall and touch this pair of shoes.
With time and with the pandemic, the situation changed dramatically.
Covid-19/20/21 redefined the way people search for goods and buy goods eventually according to Harvard Business Review.
For instance, the majority of makeup companies decided to forbid clients from trying products in stores for fear of spreading the virus. Clothes retailers started offering AR dressing rooms and inventing tools for measuring the right size to make people buy at least something. The majority of companies started experimenting with AI to make purchases smarter and offered clients a choice of AR tools to shop painlessly.
Augmented Reality Shopping and Artificial Intelligence After COVID: How Do People Shop Now?
Online shopping has become ubiquitous. The majority of brick-and-mortar stores and big retailers created user-friendly mobile and web apps for e-commerce ( marketplaces), and it is possible to buy anything from anywhere and at any time.
AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants help with shopping, making this process smooth and effortless. And eventually, Augmented Reality shopping provided clients with the visual information they need to decide if they are ready to buy or not.
All in all, augmented reality for retail and data science for E-commerce made this traditional buyer journey, which is sometimes divided into awareness, consideration, and decision-making, look fresh.
Augmented Reality Retail can take many forms, but here are the most popular solutions which redefine the customer journey.
AR Product Configurator for “Try-Before-You-Buy”
The AR product configurator we mentioned above allows previewing of any product in its full size but with various color/model combinations. Users get the chance to see products on their mobile phones or in a web version (so-called web XR).
AR product configurator or AR apps for the retail fit jewelry industry, clothes & shoe industry, and cosmetics products business sector the best. It provides customers with a unique chance to try-before-you-buy.
Web AR for “Try-Before-You-Buy” Without Mobile Apps
The majority of customers feel hesitant when there is a need to download another mobile app, even if it’s their favorite brand. For this Web AR for retail case, it is possible to use the possibilities provided by web AR or web XR as it is often called. In a web browser, a user can explore the product without any hurry compared to visits to shopping malls. Web AR solutions for retail bridge a gap between printed materials and digital experience, creating a fully immersive and natural 3D experience for customers. Web AR showrooms for retail give clients the awaited personalized experience, which helps them to choose the product they like in terms of size, configuration, and color from the comfort of their homes.
Web AR created based on Unity and Web GL technologies can revolutionize shopping.
Body Measurement Apps for Shoes and Clothes
The fashion and clothing industry has become the biggest driving force of e-commerce, yet this business sector is still suffering from fit-related returns of goods. Goldman & Sachs predicted the appearance of the body measuring technology several years ago.
The combination of AI (Computer Vision + Machine Learning Algorithms) and AR are capable of solving this issue once and for all.
Using AR + Сomputer Vision algorithms for body measurement, it is possible to create a 100% accurate body/foot model of any client and choose shoes/clothes that would fit perfectly. 3D body measurement scanners can make the work of fashion and clothes stores less stressful:
- Improve the level of customer satisfaction and pave the solid fundament for brand loyalty;
- Help to increase sales by decreasing the return rate;
- Increase the target audience to all possible geographical locations where there is the Internet.
GPT-3 Chatbots for Businesses Automation
AI-powered chatbots. Yes, most clients have already had negative experiences with boring and narrow-minded chatbots. But the appearance of GPT-3, which utilizes more than 175 billion learning parameters, is changing the game. It is ten times more powerful than the last natural language model.
It can automatically finish the statement, answer complex and simple questions, joke ( to some extent), and even generate lines of code.
Using this GPT-3 chatbot to assist clients in their discovery can help to make their journey more comfortable. Here is just one example of the possibilities of chatbots created based on GPT-3 to hold meaningful, emphatic, and rather interesting conversations.
Gamification in Retail & E-Commerce
Gamified AR experience is another trend spotted by AR evangelist Helen Papagiannis in her article to HBR, “ How AR Is Redefining Retail in the Pandemic,” that reminds users of a more gamified social experience which pushes users living in different locations to interact and explore.
Gamification in retail can be used in a variety of ways. First, it is possible to add gaming mechanics to the shopping process and motivate customers to collect. Second, using gamification in retail it is easier to educate the client about the assortment of the brand. In the case of a mobile arcade game created by Burberry.
Recommender Engines for E-Commerce
The last solution is related to AI but is an essential part of the redefined buyer journey: personalized recommendations created with the help of Recommender Engines. You can read more details about the types of recommender engines and data science for e-commerce here.
All in all, customers have already gotten used to personalized recommendations: they know that they don’t need to memorize the names of the brand, and they know that they will be offered more related goods when searching for a grass-cutter. The majority of users don’t even notice these recommendations.
It is clear that augmented reality shopping is just one of the transformational tools for digitalizing E-commerce. In reality, businesses now have every opportunity that will lead to skyrocketing sales, more customer engagement, and more brand retention.