Is Augmented Reality influencing shoppers’ online purchases?
GfK and Eyekandy come together to explore how far Augmented Reality (AR) is already influencing shoppers’ online purchase behavior.
Is Augmented Reality influencing shoppers’ online purchase choices?
48% are more likely to visit a store that offers AR or VR (GfK);
68% say AR could sway buying an item without seeing it physically (Eyekandy)
‘Shop at home’ has rocketed – and click-and-mortar retailers have come out as the biggest winners
GfK and Eyekandy are combining ideas and knowledge to explore how far Augmented Reality (AR) is already influencing shoppers’ online purchase behavior and what the next big thing for retail is likely to be.
Although the ‘shop at home’ digital world has been growing for quite some time, it rocketed into the mainstream during the Covid-19 pandemic, affecting every world region (see chart below). During 2020, 83% globally changed their shopping behavior from "I want" to "I need" purchases, and 46% are now only buying brands that are also available online.
GfK's Strategic Insights Manager, Nevin Francis, believes the vast majority of those forced online will continue their new-found digital shopping habits, even as COVID restrictions are lifted.
For some, the key barriers to shopping online were fears around data privacy, the security of making payments, or having convenient delivery options. The pandemic forced them to override those fears and, now that they have had positive personal experience of online purchases, we expect a significant percentage to continue this for the convenience it offers, even as shops reopen. Even with people increasingly back in the office and unable to take deliveries at home, options like click-and-collect or a nominated 'safe place' are now tried and trusted."
Nevin Francis, Strategic Insights Manager at GfK
Interesting fact: the biggest winners from the enforced transition to online during lockdowns have been ‘click and mortar’ retailers. Many people chose to buy at the online stores of their known and trusted traditional retailers, rather than at online-only retailers.
And this is not a short-term effect that wore off as people got used to the new ways of shopping - it has continued into 2021. During Q1 this year, click and mortar players across EU5 countries showed +115% year on year growth in average sales value for TCG, while online-only players won +52% year on year growth.
Find out more about GfK's shopper insights: Get into the mind of today’s shopper
Augmented Reality (AR) is increasingly giving shoppers the in-store experience they like, online
48% say they’re more likely to visit a store that offers augmented or virtual reality
Despite the huge take-up of ‘at home shopping’, people miss certain elements of the in-store experience. A key example is the urge to see, feel and engage with a product before you buy: 46% globally say “the look, feel and smell of a product is very important to me”.
Augmented Reality (AR) offers the best opportunity to blend as much of this physical desire as possible into the digital world, presenting a more immersive experience.
Moreover, consumers are eager for the experience:
- 48% globally say they’re more likely to visit a store that offers augmented or virtual reality, with shoppers in APAC and Latin America leading on this.
- 44% find using new tech products and services exciting and use it as much as they can.
- Only 18% are put off by new tech, feeling it is “a bit beyond me, or scares me”.
Globally, 48% say they’re more likely to visit a store that offers augmented or virtual reality
Where AR offers most value:
Nevin highlights small and major domestic appliances and home furnishing as sectors where AR offers strong resonance with what shoppers will be wanting. Key for these types of purchase is the ability to see how the item looks in the setting of their own home, and whether it physically fits into the space they intend, when viewed life-size. Added to those is consumer electronics, where people additionally want to be able to turn the product around, view it from all angles, and see what ports etc it offers and where they are positioned.
The other issue that retailers must consider is how seamless the AR function is from the shopper view. If they have pause their browsing to download an app before they can use the AR function, it interrupts their shopping and requires trust over what personal data that app may be collecting - all of which will make people think twice. To encourage maximum take-up, the AR option needs to be seamless - so the shopper gets an instant result and is not required to make any decision about downloading a specific app or software in order to use the AR.
Now for a quick survey!
Imagine you are about to buy a product online...
would being able to interact with it using AR (e,g. 'place' it in your home at life-size; and turn it around to view all angles) make you more inclined to buy that product over a very similar one that didn't offer AR engagement?
AR lifts ‘add-to-cart rate’ & reduces purchase returns
Eyekandy's research reveals 55% say the ability to engage with a product in AR could persuade them to spend more on a purchase than they had intended to spend - up from 50% in 2019.
Eyekandy’s AR Shopper Index research proves the power of augmented reality to engage shoppers and increase online sales.
63% of their respondents would favour a retailer that offers augmented reality services over one that does not, and 68% say AR could persuade them to buy an item online without needing to see it in physical reality.
However, the effectiveness of AR does not stop at just retailer or brand preference. 55% say the ability to engage with a product in AR could persuade them to spend more on a purchase than they had intended to spend - up from 50% in 2019.
Eyekandy also found there is a clear uplift in sales, plus less likelihood to return products, when a shopper experiences a brand in AR before they make a purchase:
Across all categories and shopper journeys, shoppers who engaged with a product in AR had an 87% uplift in the observed add-to-cart rate during the first quarter of this year, compared to those who did not experience a product in AR.
Possibly even more exciting for brands' bottom line is the 69% who say they’d be less likely to return a product if they had used augmented reality as part of their research before buying – for example, to “see” the size and look of a fridge/freezer in the setting of their own room.
What’s the next big opportunity for AR and retail?
Eyekandy's Garret Albanese shares his insight
"Looking ahead, perhaps one of the most powerful AR services will be blending AR with Live Video. This is where live video shopping is combined with AR, allowing the shopper to talk to a human sales advisor, as well as digitally “placing” the item in their home at life-size, to see how it looks and fits. It’s a potent mix of engaging interaction and personal service that has already seen positive sales impact and customer feedback.
"Another exciting opportunity is around product packaging. This has already become much more than just a one-way logistical item, with the likes of Amazon using the outside of their delivery packaging as smart ‘Discovery Channels’ via QR codes that launch AR experiences. Eyekandy found that 68% of respondents who were shown a video demonstrating the concept said they would engage with interactive AR packaging if it was available to them."
Garrett Albanese, CMO at Eyekandy
Over three billion shoppers around the world now have the mobile technology (compatible phone, tablet or laptop) to immerse themselves in AR brand experiences. This is a massive opportunity of scale for brands to win followers and convert online shoppers into buyers.
Learn how AR can turn your products into a Discovery Channel for shoppers:
Visit Eyekandy: the home of AR