AR changing how consumers shop – report

ar and shopping - Image by Bruno :Germany from Pixabay

Augmented Reality (AR) is transforming e-commerce by increasing our confidence when we shop and making shopping enjoyable, hassle-free experience.

With more ways to shop than ever before, today’s shoppers still have unmet needs when searching for, trying on and completing transactions. 

How we shop Snap Inc, Publicis Media

New research by Snap Inc. and Publicis Media Exchange (PMX) has found that Augmented Reality (AR) is emerging as a perfect medium for brands to provide a seamless shopping experience and meet consumers’ needs. 

With a projected value of $1.2 trillion by 2030, AR is no longer a one-off tactic but rather a necessary tool to be integrated into a brand’s omni-channel roadmap.

Findings from new research, fielded by Alter Agents, demonstrates that AR gives shoppers pre-purchase confidence, making shopping fun and easier, while also reducing consumers’ likelihood to return purchases.

“The future of shopping is here today through the use of AR. It’s continually proven its value for shoppers as a way to show how a brand or product can fit within their lives,” said Helen Lin, Chief Digital Officer, Publicis Group. 

“Virtual try-ons and 360 product demos can help lessen the need for returns and in-store visits. Think about the impact this could have on customer service, supply chain and overall sustainability.”

Snap Inc. and Publicis sought to understand how consumers are currently using AR in their shopping experiences across various categories. 

This research was conducted in four key markets – the United States, United Kingdom, France and Saudi Arabia, conducting more than 4,000 interviews with 13-49 year-olds.

Report findings:

  • 69% of consumers interviewed globally stated that they think AR is the future of shopping, with the majority of AR shoppers responding that they are likely to make a purchase after using an AR shopping experience.
  • 80% of shoppers feel more confidence in their purchases as a result of using AR before buying, demonstrating how AR shopping experiences are fulfilling unmet commerce needs. Camera technology has advanced significantly to allow customers to not only try-on products at home, but also allow consumers to find the right size, visualise a product at scale in their own home, and even purchase through an AR experience. Such interactive features in AR inherently provide confidence to shoppers today by offering them a more accurate and full 360 degree view of a product. The research found that these AR features are the biggest drivers of purchase intent – ahead of other experiences like online display, video and online marketplace search and suggestions.
  • 66% of respondents who use AR are less likely to return their purchases, demonstrating a boost in consumer confidence among a majority of global shoppers. AR provides context in brand and product selection to help reduce returns, which has massive implications to the business of returns management. Such experiences also provide inspiration and offer consumers a chance to learn something new about the brand or product/destination.
  • 25% of shoppers use AR as a substitute for an in-person experience across multiple categories (i.e.CPG, Clothing, Retail and Travel) which contributes to an overall improved experience making shopping easier and more fun.

AR shopping and Snap

Snapchat is one of the leading sources of discovery for AR during shopping, with 37% of shoppers discovering AR experiences on the app, second only to store sites. 

And with nearly 57% of AR shoppers also being daily Snapchatters, the platform is poised to drive the AR journey online.

“When buying products online, shoppers want to make sure they’re making a purchase that they will ultimately be happy with, and AR unlocks a huge opportunity when it comes to buyer confidence because of the advancements in fit and placement technology,” said Dave Roter, VP, Global Agency Partnerships at Snap Inc. 

“Immersive customer experiences using AR are helping our advertisers sell more products while driving more long term customer value.”

Shoppers are more than ready for an augmented native commerce, and are looking to purchase directly from AR. 

For the future, consumers surveyed are demanding better tech and seamless shopping by having their credit cards and loyalty cards connected to the platform that will facilitate the transaction. 

Almost all want to experience AR during their post purchase process as well, whether it is using AR to get more information on how to use a product, to share their purchase experience and to review or suggest pairings. 

For brands working to fine tune their omni-channel strategy, this has large-scale implications on planning for their camera strategy.