Consumer shopping habits and preferences are rapidly evolving—and it can be hard for e-commerce marketers to plan when they can’t anticipate the next major change. In a market defined by uncertainty, business intelligence has become essential to monitoring trends and making better business decisions. And right now, one of the key drivers to watch is the rise of augmented reality (AR)—and how it will influence consumer purchases.
Gone are the days of having to wait for an online order to arrive to see exactly how it will fit in your home or look on your face. AR, or augmented reality, is allowing e-commerce platforms to give their customers a more immersive shopping experience by showing how new furniture will look in a room, or how their new makeup can look once it’s applied. AR is gaining traction quickly: it was used by over 100 million shoppers in 2021, and it’s predicted to grow even more in years to come. By 2025, more than 75% of smartphone users will be frequent AR users. Right now, we’re in the early days, and the impact of a technology like this can be a game changer for e-commerce marketers looking to deliver immersive, engaging customer experiences.
How do you incorporate AR? What’s meaningful to your customers? What are your competitors doing? These are key questions to consider in shaping strategy, and it’s essential to leverage business intelligence for your planning and decision-making. Line Item can provide this insight into what is and what isn’t working for your business’s e-commerce; it can also help you monitor and evaluate emerging trends in your market so you can make more informed, strategic decisions. This includes information at the product attribute level as well as insight into your SEO and campaign performance and much more—all via a single, powerful platform purpose-built for CPG and e-commerce.
New technology shapes the shopper experience
How does AR work? AR takes the image captured on a device’s camera and imposes an image or effect over it. It’s a powerful tool to overcome one of the biggest friction points (and risks) of online shopping: the dreaded “not as described.” About 30% of all products bought online are returned (compared to an approximate 9% return rate for brick-and-mortar purchases), with 22% of those returns attributed to the product looking different than described. A customer’s ability to have greater confidence in a product before purchasing can help curb those return rates.
Brands like Ikea are utilizing AR to show shoppers what a product will look like in their homes. A shopper considering buying a new piece of furniture could use their phone’s camera to view the area where they plan to place the furniture, and the AR technology would place a 3D model of the furniture into the landscape, providing views from multiple angles.
AR, of course, is not limited to furniture. According to Shopify, Bumbleride, a stroller company, and Gunner Kennels have both been using AR to allow potential customers to see how much space the product will occupy in their home or on the sidewalk, and if their dog will fit in a specific crate. This allows shoppers to get a deeper feeling for how a product will look or function once they have it, giving them more purchase confidence. And it translates to better business performance: Bumbleride and Gunner Kennels reported 33% and 40% increases in order conversion rates, respectively.
AR can also work for CPG brands. Cosmetic heavyweight Sephora is implementing a “Virtual Artist” feature to layer the appearance of makeup over the face of a potential buyer (similar to a filter on social media apps). The buyer can sample different makeups quickly without ever having to go into a brick-and-mortar store. AR will give consumers new avenues to explore products—upping the ante for e-commerce brands. According to Shopify product lead Ryan Smith, AR functions in e-commerce “will be ubiquitous by 2023.”
Staying on top of trends
How could AR strengthen your e-commerce strategy or enhance customer experience? What competitors in your category are already implementing it? Staying on top of trends in a dynamic market with rapid shifts in consumer preferences is challenging; powerful business intelligence enabled by Line Item makes it easier.
AR isn’t the only trend to watch. Are there any new competitors out there, undercutting your pricing or appearing first in search results? What product attributes are driving value? Line Item provides better business intelligence to answer questions like these. Through its proprietary AI engine, which calculates attributes for style, form, packaging, flavor and much more, Line Item can help you analyze what’s really motivating preferences and purchases.
Line Item also helps to ensure accuracy and consistency in product descriptions and images, which can affect search engine rankings and page one results. Line Item can identify if your items are overpriced or if your promotions are working.
In a constantly evolving marketplace, understanding what is working for you—and your competitors—can help you make strategic changes and execute smarter strategies for more successful e-commerce. It all starts with better business intelligence. This makes Line Item your lifeline to more profitable ecommerce.
Ironbridge Software was founded in 1989 by Mike Dickenson. Mike’s unparalleled expertise and passion for technology led him to create the first-ever analytical solution for the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry.