By overlaying digital objects onto real-world environments, AR is transforming the way we shop and interact with digital products. However, AR is not just a fun novelty anymore; it has become a powerful tool for businesses to enhance their apps’ user experience and increase conversion rates. Read on to learn more about the evolution of AR and how it is reshaping the digital landscape.
Reinventing digital experiences with AR
Having virtual objects placed in someone’s physical space is now possible with augmented reality (AR). This integration of a digital product with a users’ real world is an experience that is changing the perception of shopping for both consumers and businesses. AR is defined by the overlaying of digital information with real world environments and objects. With AR users are able to try on clothes, make-up, and much more without leaving their homes. The technology identifies the users’ body and overlays the image of the product they want to try. It is a game-changing feature to include in an app as users are interested in testing out new technologies. Not only does it drive users to an app as it is proven to increase conversion rates.
From toy to tool: Reshaping the digital landscape
It’s important to understand that AR emerged as a fun and engaging new technology, and in the eyes of consumers its purpose has been, up until recently, a novelty fun experience to communicate with friends using filters and such. Pokémon Go is a prime example of how AR spawned excitement to Pokémon fans and curious users all around the globe. In 2016 when it launched, a wave of Pokémon “hunters” emerged – from fans to trend-followers, everyone wanted to know what the hype was about and it led to so many people playing the game – even those who never cared for Pokémon.
The novelty era has slowly passed by and AR is becoming a powerful multi-purpose tool for businesses. By 2021, over 1.5 billion people were using AR experiences on their mobile, and this is predicted to reach 2.4 billion users by 2025. This suggests a future evolution of AR from a tool to a total solution that is a normal expectation for users – that improves shopping and enhances the overall user experience.
A world of possibilities for developers and companies: Apple ARKit
Apple’s ARKit is a software development kit (SDK) created by Apple for building AR experiences on iOS devices. This provides developers with new tools and opportunities to create engaging and immersive experiences. ARKit uses the camera and sensors on an iOS device to detect the position and orientation of real-world objects, and then places 3D models of an object on top of them. By providing advanced features and tools, ARKit allows developers to create experiences that seamlessly blend the digital and physical worlds. It is easier than ever to incorporate AR technologies into an app, improving UX and excelling the business offer on mobile.
In addition to providing the ARKit to assist developers in creating exceptional AR experiences, Apple has recently unveiled their first ever mixed reality product (AR and VR) called Vision Pro. It’s a headset that seamlessly merges the digital realm with the physical world, while enabling its users to remain present. While acknowledging that this revolutionary product is just the first of a whole new universe and thus it might take its time penetrating the market, it will nonetheless offer a platform for apps to flourish. This opens up new opportunities and avenues for companies and users alike – from opportunities in retail and e-commerce, to innovation in the healthcare, education and industrial design & manufacturing industries. If you are interested in learning more about the headset and its impact on businesses and users, you can learn more here.
Stepping into the future – Are apps with AR better?
AR improves user engagement & conversion
As already mentioned, AR delivers a unique experience without the use of additional hardwares apart from the users’ mobile device. AR is used to provide a seamless and captivating user experience that is easy and convenient, and that ultimately leverages the user engagement. Having users spend more time on the app and interacting with the different features also results in improved brand loyalty and awareness. Consequently, turning engaged users into paying customers is a smoother process and thus, AR experiences tend to improve conversion rates. Digital experiences can benefit from AR by getting users engaged and committed. The conversion rate is 94% higher when users interact with products with an AR experience, than without it, proving that AR is a clear driver for m-commerce.
A great example of how this technology has been used to leverage business offerings and give users a new immersive experience is the IKEA app. The IKEA Inspire app (available in the Spanish Isles) is an innovative AR experience that grants users the ability to place furniture in their own living room. Perhaps this experience is even more immersive than going into a store and browsing through the items, as in this case no one can ever know for sure how the product would look and feel like in the customers’ own space. It gives IKEA customers a unique chance to (re)imagine what their home would look like and place an order with confidence. For IKEA, we believe this is a strong m-commerce tool while also giving them a competitive edge over other furniture players in the market.
AR enhances marketing & promotion strategies
Product visualisation is a useful advantage of AR technologies and a tool for converting users to paying customers, as it drives decision making and gives users the confidence to complete a transaction. Additionally, AR can be used by marketers to promote products and experiences – e.g.. trying on makeup or touring a museum. The secret for leveraging AR into marketing is to find new ways to immerse the user with content and get them engaged. Additionally, AR experiences can be shared on social media, consequently creating buzz and increasing brand awareness.
To put it simply, AR has evolved from being a passing trend. Its capacity to enrich user experiences and introduce innovative ways to engage with the digital realm has made it an effective tool for app developers and is bringing enhanced value to companies wanting to give their customers new ways to experience their brands and products.
For more information and general questions around the topic, please reach out to Strategy & Business Consultant, Telma Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org.