DTC 381: AR Online Shopping Magic

Shopping online definitely has its drawbacks. 

But the rise of Augmented Reality (AR) could change everything and make buying consumer goods less like Russian Roulette and more like a lifelike video game. 🎮

If you’re not in the know, AR uses technology to overlay digital information or virtual content onto the real-world environment, providing users with immersive and interactive experiences. 

Remember Pokémon Go? That’s AR in a nutshell (or, shall we say *in a Pokeball* 😅).

But AR isn’t just goofy face filters and addictive games.

Utilizing AR can help brands stand out – big time.

First, it’s still new and novel. Only 1% of retailers are currently using AR — even though 61% of consumers claim to prefer it.

It’s also incredibly effective. 

Consumers rate AR product experiences as 200% more engaging than non-AR and generate, on average, 75 seconds of “dwell time,” 4x longer than traditional video! 

Using AR can help your brand automatically stand out from the crowd and give your customers a better online shopping experience.

Ready to learn more? Here are some ways to incorporate AR into your DTC biz! 👇

👖 Encourage buying confidence with virtual try-ons

One popular application of AR is giving customers the ability to “virtually try on” products before buying. By using their smartphone camera or uploading a photo, customers can see how a product would look on them before making a purchase.

This is a win-win for customers and brands, as it translates to more buying confidence and fewer returns — especially for younger audiences. 

Snapchat's 2022 Generation Report found that "92% of Gen Zers are interested in using AR for shopping,” mostly for trying on clothes and makeup.

Need an example to get you started? Warby Parker’s app allows users to see how different frames look on their face, helping them choose the right glasses before making a purchase.

The fun doesn’t stop at glasses. L’Oreal Paris offers virtual try-on for their extra bold Colorista line. 

(ICYWW what Paul Rudd would look like with pink hair… unsurprisingly, he looks fab 😘).

And thanks to 3D body tracking technology, try-ons aren’t just limited to facial products. AR can also create virtual showrooms or fitting rooms, allowing customers to try on clothes virtually. 

No more too-skinny skinny jeans! 👐

Want to actually visualize your new style before parting with your hard-earned cash and having it in your closet? The app TRYO offers virtual try-ons for 500+ different clothing brands.

If you’ve got a finicky item with sizes or silhouettes, AR might be the perfect solution for you! The mybraFit app by Wacoal is a genius implementation of AR for a notoriously tricky item to size and shop for!

If your brand is in the fashion or beauty industry, AR is something to seriously consider implementing. And you don’t need to go as far as creating your own app; there are dozens of existing apps or technologies out there you can partner with! 

🛋️ Enhance the customer experience with 3D product visualization

Online home decor and furniture brands also leverage AR to enhance their customer experience and allow shoppers to place virtual furniture, decor items, or paint colors in their rooms before buying.

That means, thanks to AR, you may never have to return a couch you bought online again. Halle-freaking-lujah. 🙏

IKEA’s Place app lets users visualize how furniture and decor items would look in their homes (before purchasing and going through that painstaking assembly process). 🔨

Don’t have an IKEA in your area? No worries! 

With Wayfair’s View in Room app, shoppers can make sure that new lamp will match their living room’s Feng Shui before buying. 🧘

Product vision has expanded far beyond the realm of redecorating. AR is also revolutionizing the car-buying process, allowing customers to view and interact with models in 3D online.

📱Skyrocket brand awareness with AR marketing campaigns

Because it’s still novel and engaging, AR can also be an extremely effective tool for generating brand awareness.

While you can create your own app or partner with a studio to create a web-based AR experience, many social media platforms are making AR campaigns easier than ever to run.

One memorable example is from a 2018 partnership between Air Jordan shoes and Snapchat. 

They created an AR experience that allowed fans at the NBA All-Star game to relieve the iconic Jordan “slam dunk” with their phones and also gave a few early access to the latest sneaker release (which proceeded to sell out faster than you can say “His Airness”).

TikTok also offers several AR capabilities for brands – from “try-on filters” to their full suite of Branded Effects – that have resulted in some pretty crazy success.

L’Oréal’s #GoBoldColorista effect on TikTok allows users to try on a rose gold hair color virtually. The campaign has 3.2B views. 🤯

Mucinex launched a Branded Effect campaign featuring “Mr. Mucus” doing what TikTok users do best: dancing. 

Created initially to increase awareness of their Nightshift product line, the campaign has now amassed a whopping 5.9B views! 🤯

Overall, AR technology bridges the gap between the online and physical worlds – creating a virtual shopping experience for customers that’s more realistic, engaging, interactive, and fruitful!

✨ TL;DR?

  • Augmented reality (AR) overlays virtual content on a real-world environment, providing users with immersive and interactive experiences.
  • AR is still novel and rated as highly engaging by consumers, making it a powerful tool for brands to stand out.
  • It also results in higher customer satisfaction and fewer returns.
  • Three ways DTC brands can use AR include:
  • Offering virtual try-ons (fashion and beauty industries)
  • Providing 3D product visualization (home decor, furniture, cars, and more)
  • Running interactive marketing campaigns via apps, web-based tech, or social media
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