Augmented Reality for E-Commerce: How it Works

Augmented Reality for E-Commerce: How it Works

Augmented Reality for E-Commerce: How it Works: Among the most difficult factors of online shopping is that it does not allow for a full sensory product experience. You can try on types of clothes, touch fabrics, and see how big a couch looks in a room in a physical store.

While these are not technologically feasible in e-commerce, augmented reality (AR) applications allow you to provide more detailed information about your products to customers.

What precisely is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality is the technology that enables the overlaying of real-world objects and environments with 3D virtual objects using an AR device, as well as allowing the virtual to interact with the real-world objects to create intended meanings.

As with virtual Reality, which attempts to recreate and replace an entire real-life environment with a virtual one, augmented reality focuses on enriching a representation of the real world with computer-generated images and digital information. 

It attempts to alter perception by incorporating video, infographics, images, sound, and other details. Within an AR content creation device, virtual 3D images are overlaid on real-world objects based on their geometrical relationship. The device must calculate the position and orientation of objects to one another.

The combined image is displayed on mobile screens, AR glasses, and other devices. On the other hand, there are devices that a user can wear to view AR content. Unlike virtual reality headsets, AR glasses do not completely immerse users in simulated worlds. 

The glasses enable the addition or overlay of a virtual object onto a real-world object, such as placing AR markers on machines to mark repair areas. A user wearing AR glasses can see the physical object or environment around them while being augmented with a virtual image.

Although the term’s first implementations were in the military and television, AR is now used in gaming, education and training, and other fields.  Most of it is used in AR apps that can be downloaded and installed on phones and computers. It is now improved by mobile phone technology such as GPS, 3G and 4G, and remote sensing.

What distinguishes augmented reality from virtual reality?
While VR is fully immersive, AR augments the real world. 

Augmented Reality enhances an already existing world, which you will continue to perceive to some extent.  Virtual Reality, on the other hand — such as Meta’s Oculus Quest —Is an interactive experience in which you are submerged in a world entirely created by humans. You are not usually able to see or experience the real world.

Consider Pokemon Go, one of the most well-known augmented reality applications.  Users would be walking down the street while playing the game, looking at the real world through their phones, which overlaid digital characters in specific locations.

While virtual reality requires equipment, augmented reality is more portable.

With Virtual Reality, you’ll have to wear a headset and, potentially, hold control systems in your hands. You must also ensure that your physical environment is free of things that can cause you harm. (Don’t be the person who punches their TV while boxing in virtual reality!)

AR, on the other side, normally requires only a smartphone or, in some instances, AR glasses. You won’t have a reason to clear the room to have a good time because you’ll be fully aware of your surroundings.

People have a higher chance of experiencing AR than VR.

Finally, AR is more accessible because it requires less equipment and fewer safety precautions. If you develop a VR application, the number of people with the necessary equipment to experience it is far less than the world’s 3 billion smartphone users!

AR Application Types

Marker-based AR

To start the 3D digital animations. A marker, a special visual object such as a special sign or anything, and a camera are used. To effectively position the content, the system will calculate the market’s orientation and position.

Example of marker-based AR: A marker-based mobile-based AR furnishing app.

Markerless AR

It is used in occasions, industry, and navigation apps, for example, where the technology uses location-based information to determine what content the user receives or finds in a specific area. It may use GPS, compasses, gyroscopes, and accelerometers similar to those found in mobile phones.

Location-based AR

This type detects user interaction with physical surfaces by projecting artificial light onto them. It is used in holograms like those seen in Star Wars and other science fiction films.

Projection-based AR

In projection-based AR, artificial light is projected onto physical surfaces, and, in some cases, users can interact with it. Holograms, which we’ve all seen in sci-fi movies like Star Wars, are a common example.

Superimposition-based AR

In this case, an augmentation completely or partially replaces the original item. The IKEA Catalog app, for example, allows users to place a virtual furniture item over a room image with a scale.

How Are Ecommerce Companies Using Augmented Reality?

Before making a purchase, e-commerce customers can preview products or experience services in their environment and on their own time using Augmented Reality. 

Using augmented reality, your customers can preview products and are more likely to select the correct product the first time.

1. Virtual try-on options

“It looked amazing on the wax figure.” – Everyone, at least once, after trying on a new piece of clothing for the first time and realizing it doesn’t fit.

Fear of that outcome can lower conversion rates. Buyers want to know what they’ll get and take the necessary precautions to ensure that it’s precisely what they want. And if they take the risk of making the purchase and it doesn’t work out, your return rates will rise.

AR assists online shoppers in understanding what they are purchasing and how the items will benefit them. Apps like this exist for clothing, makeup, accessories, and even eyeglasses.

2. Filters for social media

If you’ve recently used Instagram Stories or Snapchat, you’ve probably used an AR filter. These filters were once only used for fun, but as time has passed, there has been an increase in the number of brands jumping on the AR bandwagon via social media filters.

Here are some of the advantages:

  • It’s an excellent way to promote a new product by allowing people to see how it will look on them.
  • AR filters’ novelty factor can help boost audience engagement and encourage people to tag you in their content.
  • The “wow” factor can assist you in standing out from the crowd of brands on social media and highlighting what makes you unique.
3. Placement preview

What exactly will that couch look like in your living room? How big will that TV screen look on your wall? Looking at the physical item in the store can be difficult, let alone looking at it on a small computer or mobile screen.

Preview placement allows customers to see what a product will look like in their environment in real-time.

Burrow, a DTC furniture brand, uses Augmented Reality to help customers see how their table will fit in their living space. 

Their Burrow at Home app makes use of ARKit to position true-to-scale virtual models of Burrow’s furniture in iPhone and iPad photos.

How Are E-commerce Companies Using Augmented Reality?

One of the most significant limitations in e-commerce is the difficulty of representing a physical, three-dimensional product in a virtual, two-dimensional environment. 

By making things simpler to represent merchandise and offering the consumer a better understanding of the product they’re acquiring, AR can help fill the gap between in-store and online shopping. 

Here are examples of how AR helps:

1. Boost customer engagement

AR is inherently interactive, making it simple for customers to become addicted to your site. Furthermore, the longer they stay on your e-commerce website, the more likely they will make a purchase! 

Even if they don’t buy during their first visit, the increased engagement indicates that they’ve formed a connection with your brand and product and created a memory, making them more likely to remember you in the future.

2. Find new customers

You’ll need to create a buzz in a noisy world to get people’s attention. Creating an engaging AR campaign is one option.

How to Implement Augmented Reality in Your Online store
1. Define your company’s goals

What do you hope to accomplish? And how does it benefit your clients? Make sure you don’t stop answering questions after the first one because the second one can elevate your AR application from good to great. You must be clear about what you want the customer experience to accomplish.

Before diving into the technical aspects of your AR application, consider your vision and goals. It will be easier to choose the techniques and technologies required to get there once you know where you’re going.

2. Determine which augmented reality tools you want to use

Once you’ve decided what you want to make, you can start thinking about the tools you’ll need. Here are some considerations to make:

License type: If you have a not-so-great budget, you may want to select an AR platform that provides a free license. 

Many augmented reality solutions offer both free and commercial licenses. However, remember that the free version will be less robust than the full software.

Compatible devices: Whether you intend to run your augmented reality app on mobile devices, laptops, or AR glasses, ensure that the tool you use supports the hardware for your app.

Operating systems supported: If you develop apps for multiple operating systems, ensure the platform you choose supports every operating system you intend to run your app.

Capabilities: Examine each platform carefully to see if it has the features you require. For example, not all platforms support geo-location, so if you want to create a location-based AR app, you won’t be able to use them.

3. Promote your new tool

You’ll want to ensure the world knows about your tool now that you’ve worked hard to create it. Here are some ideas for spreading the word:

Create a demonstration video: Create promotional and instructional videos showing how to use your app.

Show in-app instructions: Provide clear instructions so that users understand what they need to do to get the most out of your app.

Make your content easy to share: Allow users to share their augmented reality experience with friends and social media contacts.


Some market segments can be difficult to sell on e-commerce sites because it is difficult to predict how the products will appear in person versus on a computer or mobile screen. 

That is why augmented reality applications have grown in popularity since the onset of social distancing. Now that you understand the various types of augmented reality, associated use cases, and its benefits, you can decide whether it’s the right choice for your company. 

If this is the case, proceed with the abovementioned steps to bring your AR application to life.

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Vexceed is a full-service digital marketing agency. We provide a wide range of digital strategy services to clients of all industries. Our digital marketing services in Nigeria include consulting and management options for a variety of online marketing tactics, including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) ads, copywriting, e-commerce, conversion rate optimization (CRO), and more. We also offer expert branding and digital PR services for both eCommerce and B2B companies. 

Don’t just partner with any digital marketing agency; work with a company you can trust. Vexceed Technologies Limited is the best digital marketing agency in Nigeria.

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