How will Augmented Reality improve customer experience?

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eBusiness Institute Team

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How will Augmented Reality improve customer experience?

Apple has recently announced ARKit2.0 (Augmented Reality Kit 2.0) an advanced platform for developing Augmented Reality (AR) experiences.

This latest Apple’s technology comes with iOS12 expected in September and is specially designed to enable AR technology to be used across a wide range of apps including browsers as well.

For eCommerce and Retailers, this means that from now on they will be able to offer more engaging eContent and drive more sales than before.

To better understand what is exactly going on let’s start from the beginning.

Why is Augmented Reality (AR) important?

According to Statistica – the number of smartphone users worldwide has been increasing by approximately 15% every year since 2016. By the end of 2020, the total number of smartphone users is estimated to be 2.87 billion. This is more than doubled in 2016 at +54% growth.

Statistically, it’s much more likely that users will interact with eCommerce websites from their smartphones or tablets than from desktops or laptops.

Also, according to research conducted by Tracta – by the end of 2022 the number of mobiles Augmented Reality users will mostly like reach the number of 2 billion.

Google is already keeping up to date with the latest trends – as usual – and just a few months from launching its ARCore (Google’s platform for building  Augmented Reality experiences) they have updated it to ensure an even better user experience and to keep up with industry trends.

What was available before ARKit2.0?

You needed to download an APP to visualize the Augmented Reality product, print a marker or use a flat surface.
1. You needed to print a marker

AR with marker watch
3. Or you needed a flat surface

Ikea flat surface AR APP
2. To display the Augmented Reality image

AR with marker watch demo
4. To display the product

ikea flat surface demo APP
Until now – ARKit1.0 and ARKit1.5 were offering AR experiences only through special apps and with markers. This latest Apple’s invention comes with specially designed file code under the name of “usdz”. This code enables developers to include AR features into their own apps ensuring that 3D objects become widely available thought many apps such as News, Mail, Notes, Safari, and other browsers such as Chrome and Firefox as well.

You can see the official demo from Apple for the AR2.0kit
Apple conference ARKit20 demo

What exactly is Augmented Reality (AR)?

As realitytechnologies.com put it: “Augmented Reality is an enhanced version of reality where live direct or indirect views of physical real-world environments are augmented with superimposed computer-generated images over a user’s view of the real-world, thus enhancing one’s current perception of reality.”

Get in touch to talk more about AR ready eContent

What does this mean for an eCommerce website?

Altogether this means one thing– AR technology and the recent innovation created by Apple are about to change the way eCommerce function.

ARKit 2.0 will make the AR objects available through many Apple apps. At the same time, the developers will get the chance to integrate the AR features into their own apps. This leaves possibilities open for integration of AR features into more apps even beyond browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. This is very likely to happen.

This also means that the Retailers and eCommerce websites could do the same.

ARKit 2.0 and iOS12 together enables eCommerce and Retailers to offer to their customers high-quality and rich-in-value content. This has a major advantage over the typical images and videos that have been used thus far.

“Customers will need only their browsers to access Augmented Reality AR eContent”

What are the pros and cons of Augmented Reality?

This technology allows web shops under the iOS12 to offer AR experiences in browsers without an app.

Thus, the biggest advantage of the latest Apple’s ARKit2.0 lies in the fact that apps and markers won’t be required anymore. AR will be widely available through browsers ensuring simpler interaction with users.

On the other hand, this technology won’t be available before September when the launching of Apple’s newest iOS12 is announced. So, to keep up with the latest trends eCommerce and Retailers will have to wait a bit. But the good news is that those who decide to keep up with trends will most surely experience a much higher user engagement and consequently increase in conversion rates as this technology is offering much value-rich eContent than anything known before.

Also, there is already some indication that Google is about to follow up on Apple on this very shortly so the early adoption of this technology will definitely ensure advantage of those who decide to be proactive.

 

iphone photography architecture

How do you make an Augmented Reality experience a reality?

To make an AR experience a reality you will first need to include AR technology. So, to start with, you’ll need to incorporate iOS12 which are coming this autumn.

At the same time, the 3D objects in the new file format called “usdz” need to be developed and added to your websites.

Going forward, manufacturers and eRetailers will express an interest in this technology and will, therefore, need to invest and build technical capabilities.

An integrated approach will ensure a positive customer journey and experience, driving brand value and sales.

Contact us to learn more about AR technology and to talk more about AR ready eContent

“eRetailers and Brands need to adapt their eContent to make AR ready for a new AR Kit2.0 and upcoming Android OS enhancements.”

 

Author: eBusiness Institute team

At the eBusiness Institute, we work to improve Customer Experience since 2013.  Get in touch to know more and leverage this opportunity as a competitive advantage for your company.

Sources:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/
https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/23/17041890/google-arcore-1-launch-lens-visual-search-photos-assistant
https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2018/06/apple-unveils-arkit-2/>
https://developer.apple.com/arkit/
https://www.apple.com/lae/ios/augmented-reality/
https://www.outerboxdesign.com/web-design-articles/mobile-ecommerce-statistics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UThGcWBIMpU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9oeAlOY4Vs

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