6 Reasons to Use Immersive Technology on Your Ecommerce
Retail businesses are enjoying countless benefits from using immersive technology. Apart from the interesting and unique experience that immersive technology brings, it is used as a tool to accurately and effectively present a product or service virtually to break the limitations brought by distance.
Immersive technology has been around since the late 1950s. It started in a cinema that used simple technologies that were then considered revolutionary like smell generators, fans, speakers, and vibrating chairs to immerse people in a movie. Today, the effects are created through augmented reality and virtual reality to bring people into a seemingly another world where humans and digital objects interact with each other.
In 2014, Facebook created hype using immersive technology when it bought the Oculus VR. But what enticed the social media goers are their simple yet exciting camera filters and stickers.
The simplicity of accessing something immersive was the main selling point of Facebook’s AR stickers and VR backgrounds. And not to mention that they are free!
Many businesses took the same road since. They’ve been developing apps and incorporating something immersive in them and applied them to different processes from product preview to after-sales service.
But what’s in immersive technology that’s making all these businesses want to use in their marketing and selling processes?
Immersive Technology in the Ecommerce Landscape
Immersive technology covers augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality. These three are redefining the way businesses are marketing and selling their products as well as their sales support services.
Augmented reality is overlaying digital objects in a real environment. Some examples of the site are the animal camera filters of Facebook where cat or dog ears appear when the camera app detects a face. Another is the IKEA Place app where customers can choose a piece of furniture that is applied to a room in its true-to-scale size. The Nike Fit app is one more worth-mentioning AR app that’s giving shoppers a 3D model of a shoe that they can virtually wear with the use of an AR-based mobile app.
On the other hand, virtual reality takes consumers to a seemingly another world where everything is digitally drawn. A solid example is Facebook’s VR backgrounds that are available in their camera app. Users are suddenly in the space or a café just by focusing the camera on their faces.
While different in method, both AR and VR allows interaction between digital data and human beings.
So, how are they relevant to customers and eCommerce businesses?
All the answers, we’re listing below.
Reasons Businesses Should Use Immersive Technology
The ultimate goal of every business is to capture the interest of consumers and to stay in their minds long-term. Traditionally, this was difficult to achieve since when consumers leave a store, sellers have flyers and calling cards to rely on to stick to the minds of their customers.
Today, as businesses create their eCommerce sites, the strategies to reconnect with their customers are virtually limitless. And Immersive technology is just one of the most effective ways to gain customer loyalty.
There’s so much to tell, so let’s start with our top 5 reasons
1. 360 Videos are Boosting Brand Awareness
Video marketing never fails to disappoint. In fact, Oberlo notes that 87% of marketing professionals resort to video content and video marketing to promote businesses. This only shows how relevant videos are in influencing the purchasing decisions of consumers.
360 videos are empowering eCommerce businesses by providing their customers with a better preview of a space or something like a virtual tour. This is especially useful to hospitality businesses and real estate companies whose customers prefer to see rooms or properties before they book or buy. Overall, 360 videos allow consumers to explore a place without physically visiting it.
2. AR and VR Offer Real-time Product Experiences
The way consumers shop has greatly changed over the past decade. With more people becoming busier in a day, eCommerce is becoming more relevant. Many people can no longer stand the hours of walking inside the malls just to find a shirt or accessory that they want. The internet holds the biggest catalogue of products as sellers finally learn the essence of going online.
However, the competition is becoming tighter with so many eCommerce sites selling the same products. Finding an edge over the others is becoming more difficult, but thanks to immersive technology, all these businesses can get a chance to build their network of loyal customers.
AR and VR can enhance customer experience. While customers love the convenience of shopping from the comfort of their homes, getting the right product in their preferred condition and specification is still important to them. Sadly, many appear disappointed as what they get is far from what they see from eCommerce stores.
AR and VR can resolve this concern as they offer a real-time experience of products. Many eCommerce sites are launching AR or VR apps to give customers a better way to check products than simply rely on software-edited photos posted on eCommerce shops or reviews. These apps can overlay a digital copy of an object on a consumer’s hair, body, feet, or in their rooms to check whether the specs of the product they choose suit their taste and requirements.
3. Interactive In-Store Navigation
Having mentioned the inconvenience of walking through a big mall just to find one product, AR can give a solution through interactive navigation.
Many malls are already using this technology through a huge digital screen where shoppers can simply input the product they want to look for and a navigation pin virtually travels on a map to show them how exactly they’re going to get to the aisle where the item is displayed.
Another example is an AR navigation app used by big department stores and groceries. They usually use geolocation technology and AR to overlay turn by turn directions from a shopper’s starting point to their desired product.
Overall, this saves the time and energy of shoppers while keeping their interest in physical shopping intact.
4. Immersive Gamification To Keep Customers Hooked
Gamification is always a great way to ensure customer retention. We’ve seen this through the years in many shops through their points and rewards systems. The advancement of technology has made this more exciting by immersing customers in games.
For instance, an eCommerce site invites everyone to join their Halloween special where winners can enjoy a $1000 voucher they can use to shop on their site. To win, people should shop on given days to earn 5 points and play a game like killing hidden zombies when their gamification app alarms to earn additional points. The winner will be the one with the most points.
Gamification has become dull over the years but when it was integrated with AR, people have begun to feel excited again and became more diligent to increase their points.
5. Realistic interaction with Customer Service
The world was greatly amazed by holograms but augmented and virtual realities have exceeded their abilities.
In the past, holograms represented a more futuristic way of video conferencing, but today augmented reality is making it more realistic with both parties being able to walk through a single space though they are miles apart.
Ecommerce is leveraging AR to bring customer service centres to life in the consumer’s preferred space. The advantage of this is when a customer complains about damaged equipment, the technical team can inspect the equipment even without physically touching them but still being able to guide customers more effectively than video calling.
This way, eCommerce sites can deliver their after-sales services more effectively. Consequently, customer experience is enhanced.
6. Faster Product Design and Development
Some eCommerce sites are selling their original and self-crafted products. And as soon as they can establish a reputation online, products will be fast-moving, and they’ll need to expand their operation, hire more people, procure more machinery to keep up with the demand. In these times, AR can help streamline your design and production process by bringing the plan right in front of your manufacturing, assembly, QC, and packaging lines to eliminate errors that will cost you additional time and money.
Could Immersive Tech Work for Your Ecommerce Business?
Immersive technologies are transforming marketing experiences, and marketers now have these innovative tools at their disposal to be used creatively in reaching out and engaging consumers.
Immersive technologies have the potential to streamline your business operations, as well as engage with employees and customers in new and innovative ways. Recognising the benefits of immersive technologies, coupled with a strong business case for adoption and a clear vision of what technology will work for you is a winning formula. And Future Visual can help you every step of the way!
Engineer turned Writer. Donna found a deeper interest in expressing her thoughts through words rather than numbers. With four years of experience, she has now mastered different writing styles. Writing Technology Blogs for the computer software shop Softvire Australia is her latest stint. After work, she morphs into an anime and TV series fan.