What is Augmented Reality and Other Important Questions

What is Augmented Reality - Product Placing
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You’ve probably heard the term “Augmented Reality” or “AR” thrown around quite a bit in recent years, including here in our blog, but what does it mean? What is Augmented Reality? What uses does it have in the real world? And how does it impact the eCommerce industry? We’ll run you through the basics and also highlight a few places you can use it in your line of work.

Hold on to your seats ladies and gentlemen, it’s going to be quite a ride…

What is Augmented Reality?


Augmented reality refers to an experience that combines the real world with computer-generated aspects. It’s interactive and will present a 3D effect on a 2D screen. Although it can sometimes be named in conjunction with virtual reality (VR) in conversation, it is actually vastly different.

On one hand, virtual reality is its own computer environment, where everything exists within the VR headset. If you have the correct tools, such as a gaming headset, you can then interact with the “virtual world.”

On the other hand, AR layers the computer graphics onto the real environment. For example, by having an app, you could use your phone to make a computer-generated unicorn stand in the middle of your living room. The system understands depth, perspective, and other aspects to give a very convincing view to the user.

This allows for some cool, unique photos, of course, but the technology has real implications and uses for eCommerce businesses.

How Does Augmented Reality Work?


So we’ve answered the question What is Augmented Reality, it’s time to understand how it practically works.

For AR to function, an individual first needs a device with a camera, such as a smartphone or a tablet. Using an AR application, the user can point the camera in the intended direction and see the graphics on their screen presented in the “real world.” This creates a 3D experience (no need for special goggles).

The AR software has to be capable of seeing and recognizing objects and backgrounds. Using real-time data, it can confidently and convincingly place the digital item into the desired environment. If the user moves the camera, the software will be capable of keeping up and moving the digital graphic with the background. Cool, right?

What Can Augmented Reality Be Used For?


What is Augmented Reality - Pokemon Go

One of the most common uses for augmented reality is video games! Pokemon Go is a widely known example. The app has a function to turn AR on or off, but if it’s on, players have the ability to “see” Pokemon in their front yard, living room, or at the park.

However, AR has plenty of other applications. It is a difference-maker in retail, for example, but it can also assist with:

  • Mapping
  • Navigation
  • Education and new learning methods
  • Maintenance
  • Social media

Okay, two questions answered: what is augmented reality and how does it work! Good job! Now we take this info and synergistically combine it with eCommerce, but how?

How Can Augmented Reality Be Used in Retail and eCommerce?


Hmmm… Yes! A thousand times yes!

AR can be a game-changer factor in retail and eCommerce. One of the biggest perks is the ability to allow users to “try on” their purchase before they acquire it.

Take clothing, for example. In a normal retail store, there are areas designed for clients to try on items before making a purchase. But if they’re buying online, this can be rather difficult. How do they know if it fits? Or if it’s their style? Do they look good in that color? AR allows them to try on those pieces in various sizes and colors before they even put them in their cart.

For furniture, you can let customers see how a piece works in their living room, bedroom, or office. AR even allows them to move the digital item on their phone or tablet so they can see if it fits into all sorts of different places or if it goes with the décor.

Makeup can also benefit from AR. Potential buyers can see what the makeup looks like on their faces before they buy it. They can try on different looks, colors, brands, and more to see what fits their wishes. You can see a sample of that in Instagram and TikTok filters for example. No more unwittingly looking like a clown!

And it’s not limited to these three industries – most retail companies can take advantage of AR to educate their audience about their products. Not to mention

What are the Benefits of AR in eCommerce?


Not sold quite yet? No problem, here’s a list of potential ways your company can benefit from using augmented reality technology: 

  • Reduce returnsSince your customers are “trying on” makeup, clothing, etc before purchasing them, they’ll know if it’s what they are looking for, meaning they’re less likely to return it.
  • Increased engagementYou’re involving a customer directly with their purchase. Keep in mind that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product from a brand that provides personalized experiences.
  • More social media contentAR allows eCommerce companies to present different visuals, graphics, and other content on their social media platforms. It can also be used as an asset when pitching products on social media.
  • Increase in salesSince your customer can be sure they like the product before they purchase it, they will be more likely to buy it in the first place. There’s inherently a larger trust in the selling company.
  • More information on what customers wantCustomizable options (color, style, size, etc) give you the data you need to offer new and exciting products to your audience. You’ll have a better idea of what they are looking for and stop producing what simply isn’t selling.
  • Contactless experienceCustomers are still hesitant to shop in stores, and AR allows them to safely do their shopping without leaving the comfort of their homes. It adds value to your business proposition.

Did we answer all of your questions?


Hopefully, we did, if not, just ping us! We’re always excited when you reach out!

Augmented reality isn’t just for video games – it’s changing how people work, and it’s changing how they shop. It’s an absolute game-changer for eCommerce businesses and can help customers make more informed decisions, increasing their trust in online retailers.

Did you like “What is Augmented Reality and Other Questions”? Read more about AR here!

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