The online shopping space, over the last year has experienced its maximum number of sales coming from mobile phones or tablets. Therefore, this recently emerged channel is popularly called mCommerce, essentially an adjunct to eCommerce via mobile.
The future of mCommerce is expected to experience strong growth in the years to come. Mobile sales worldwide will reach $626 billion by 2018. The newly discovered medium is evidently growing at a fast pace. Players like Amazon, Alibaba, Walmart, etc. are focusing their sale strategy through mobile apps.
The Magic of Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) is a term familiar to many after PokemonGo game was based on it. It was the early stage while industry was trying to figure out how to use AR in marketing. The developers at Niantic were quick to grab it and developed a mobile game around AR. It is basically of two types –
Marker-Based AR: It uses camera and visual markers integrated into the content that has to be represented. Here the user needs to hold the marker to the mobile device’s camera and the AR then comes to life.
Markerless AR: It uses a graphic instead of a marker. Therefore, it has the capacity to recognise images that are not provided to the application beforehand. Here the tracked object can be anything, like a picture, a human, etc. The virtual objects are added over the top of the tracked object.
Current implementations of markerless AR, use sensors and devices to accurately detect the real-world environments. This allows users to place virtual objects in that environment.
The Extent of Possibility of AR
The applications of AR are limitless. By the year 2017, 1 billion AR apps will be downloaded to generate revenue of more than $1.6 billion. This is simply because AR apps are not limited to conventional mobile apps. There will be new markets — like Google Glass — that will open more forms of development and use.
Augmented Reality for mCommerce
The concept of Augmented Reality can prove to be extremely useful for the mCommerce sector. For example, at present, if someone has to buy a pair of sunglasses online, a niche portal will provide an ability to upload his/her picture and user a basic tool to see how will they look in it.
This, in most cases, is tedious and isn’t even accurate. If the store has AR application that access the device’s camera in real time, it can position the glasses on the user’s face. This gives a better idea of how eyewear will look in real life from different angles. The buying experience would be amazing for the user.
Advantages of AR in mCommerce
- Drive Sales: Using AR, customers can now try on a product and experience how it looks on them; the process develops customer attachment to the product, increasing the likelihood of a purchase.
- Enhance Print Media Advertising: Purchase items on the go from your smartphones or tablets by simply scanning the AR-enabled images.
- Replicates in-store experiences: With AR technology, customers can digitally check the price, view a 3D model, try on clothes and then seamlessly place an order.
- Differentiate your business from competitors: Developing AR experiences help brands to differentiate their business from competitors and provide customer delight.
Essentially implementing AR in the most basic form would involve an interface between the tangible world and the digital world, this could be as basic as a smartphone and as advance as a wearable like Google Glass. E-commerce companies have already started steps in integrating their digital world with the tangible one to give consumers a better experience.